The Benefits of Elderberry

I always love spring. Today I found myself crisscrossing a neighbor’s farm, looking over cows. Birds sang. Squirrels foraged. And while we went along ponds, around sinkholes, and along wood and fence lines we found… elderberry! It was once said that you couldn’t go more than a hundred feet in most of the US without running into one. Now, this important plant is far harder to find. But why is the elder so valuable? Continue reading

Meet Farmer John Moody – An Expert on Elderberries, Soils and More

“I am not your typical farmer.” That’s the first thing John Moody says when he introduces himself.

In fact, Moody doesn’t consider himself typical in anything. The author of five books on the subject of farming and homesteading, Moody and his wife Jessica are determined to spread the news about the merits of real, honest food and the health benefits that result. (“One fun fact,” he adds. “I am a green belt in judo and performed multiple times in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”) Continue reading

5 Vegan Recipes For An Animal-Friendly Easter

preparing vegan mealEaster is a celebration of life. For many, it is a celebration of Christ being resurrected and living once more. It’s also a time of new life and birth at the beginning of springtime. That’s why I choose to celebrate this day peacefully and compassionately. Continue reading

Why Heat with Wood

woodlot

Photo courtesy of Sarah B. Gilliam

Since childhood, I’ve always felt burning wood was a cherished pastime. There are few things I place as much importance in on our farm as I do the cutting, hauling, splitting and stacking of firewood. The entire process is sacred and rewarding to me. Walking out to the woodlot during a warm summer evening as the fireflies begin their nightly show and taking stock of what I have ready for this winter, for next, and beyond, brings great satisfaction. There the firewood is stacked on pallets in rows fifty feet long and as I walk around the woodlot, I know I will have no trouble keeping my family warm, no matter how cold winter will get. Continue reading

Backpacking for Beginners: Part One

backpackingAs a 23-year-old whose friends are getting married, working full-time jobs, and having kids, it can be difficult to plan time to see each other. So when my college roommate and best friend, Santina, said that her husband, Brendon was going out of town on an extended-weekend backpacking trip with his friends, we immediately planned a girls’ weekend of our own. When she came to visit, she mentioned that Brendon had been trying to convince her to go backpacking with him, but she wasn’t really sure she wanted to. I mean, I don’t blame her…the guys were roughing it out in the woods. My idea of spending time outdoors includes a hammock, a cozy blanket and several good books; their idea of spending time outdoors included a rainstorm, a soggy hammock and no running water for 4 days. However, during our conversation, I suddenly found myself saying “Well, if you do decide to go, I’ll go with you!” And from there, the adventure started taking shape. Continue reading

How Animals Can Bring You Comfort and Support During Difficult Times

Living a More Satisfying LifeAs a nineteen-year-old woman, there are two things so far that have been very prevalent in my life: my love of animals, and my day-to-day struggles with anxiety and depression. Since I can remember, things that seem easy for other people have been difficult for me. Middle school, high school, employment, and getting into college all were things that I found emotionally taxing and very nerve-wracking. Continue reading

Why We Don’t Buy Plastic Toys

plastic toys

Something happened when I got pregnant for the first time. I looked around my house, with its hardwood floors and muted earth tones, and suddenly I could see clutter.

Plastic, light-up abominations littering the floors. Vinyl everything in ridiculously garish colors, threatening the warm zen I was trying so hard to cultivate in our tiny mountain home. Continue reading

How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar

Make apple cider vinegarWhen I first started to make apple cider vinegar, my husband gave me that you’re-overcomplicating-this-why-don’t-you-just-buy-it look.

I promise, it’s a very specific look. You can’t miss it. Continue reading

The Perks of Making Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

A few falls ago, one of my husband’s coworkers invited us to come out with buckets to pick apples from the trees in his overwhelmed backyard. We came home happy with three five-gallon buckets full. Then came the endless task of processing them, and figuring out what the heck we were going to do when we got sick of apple pies.
Continue reading

Digital Dude Discovers Simplicity (And You Can, Too)

From his office on main street, Scott and his 10 co-workers spend their days in the digital world. “I sit at my computer all day, every day, building online advertising campaigns,” said Scott, who lives in Colorado. “I was working on the Lehman’s account and started watching the canning video. It just drew me in and I thought I can [pun intended] do this!” Continue reading