Safely Heating a Yurt With Wood

the yurt before chimney

Here’s a photo of Hannah’s yurt last summer before the chimney was installed.

My 24-foot diameter yurt is a 450 square foot living space, with lightly insulated cloth walls over a wooden lattice structure. When I think about building a fire in there, I think it had better be done safely! I also notice that the space heats up quickly, as it’s not all that large after all, but the heat dissipates quickly after the fire goes out, too. Better insulation than mine would be a must if I needed to count on my dwelling staying above freezing when I’m away for the day. Continue reading

Why I’m Building a Yurt

a yurtEditor’s Note: Hannah started building her yurt last spring where she now lives. She recorded the beginning of her adventure during the process and is now sharing it with us. Enjoy!

These days are very exciting, because I’m starting to build a yurt to live in. I’ve never built a semi-permanent dwelling before, and to be totally honest I don’t have a lot of construction experience. For this project, I get to learn as I go, taking the advice of neighbors, and, luckily, there’s some room for fudging. Continue reading

Wood Splitting for Women

gransfors bruk splitting maulI’m a solo woman farmer living in a yurt that is heated with wood. My life is a pretty idyllic one—getting to live and farm in a beautiful spot near Decorah, Iowa in the driftless region is not something to be taken without buckets of gratitude. There are some things that are hard about my life, too, as is the case in all lives. There are daily chores to be done that sometimes become a slog. There’s the inevitable challenge of creating a sustainable balance between my social life, personal life, spiritual life, and work life. But one thing that is in many ways pure joy is the chance to cut and split my own wood. Continue reading

The ‘Triangle of Construction’ on a Homestead

I sat down with a friend the other night who has operated a local timber-framing company for nearly twenty years now. His words of wisdom will serve me well on my growing homestead – and maybe you, too. Continue reading

Certified Organic – Why Bother?

I have been a vegetable farmer for four years, and I am going to be certified organic this year for the first time. The funny thing is that I will not change my growing practices — they will be as free of pesticides as ever. Continue reading

After The Flood: Farmer Hannah Reflects

Growing food is a precarious business. Every farmer knows that going in: we hear the stories of hail, of untimely frosts, of drought. And yet we grow food anyway. Continue reading

How Farmer Hannah Gets Through the Winter

As a vegetable farmer at Humble Hands Harvest, I get asked a lot what I do during the winter. I remember asking the same question of my farmer mentors before I got started on my own, and hearing them laugh: the job never lets up. It just changes over the seasons! Continue reading

How to Save Seeds on a Small Scale

seeds in hands

As I plan my garden each spring, I think forward to what seeds I might want to save, and make sure that my garden is structured in such a way that I can do that. I only save easy seeds — I have not yet bothered with isolation tents or hand pollination — so the ones I do save usually come at me pretty easily. Continue reading

4 Ways to Eat Like a Farmer

canned tomatoes- ball jars

As a vegetable farmer, all season long I’m confronted with too much abundance — it’s absolutely overwhelming. In winter, though, it can feel like the opposite if I don’t prepare. So the question for me is, how can I manage the abundance of summer so that I can enjoy it into the winter?

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Hannah Tested, Hannah Approved: Amish Furrowing Hoe

Our Amish-made furrowing hoe is one of the best row-makers and precision weeders we've found.

Our Amish-made furrowing hoe is one of the best row-makers and precision weeders we’ve found.

My Amish furrowing hoe arrived in the mail the day before a big planting event in a community garden just down the hill from my house in the country. I woke up that morning, did my rabbit and sheep chores, made my breakfast of greens and a couple fried eggs, and brought my breakfast, a fork, some seeds, and the hoe down to the bottom of the road. I sat on a gravel pile and ate my breakfast while I waited for the rest of the crew to arrive. Conor showed up before the others; the first words out of his mouth were “You look like Walt Whitman.” The second statement was, “That hoe is calling out to me.” Continue reading