Rural Living Skills

Firewood and Wood Stove Basics – Five Lessons for Heating with Wood

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Originally published in October 2010 – updated November 30, 2013. Firewood burned in a wood stove is our primary heat source – not just in winter, but year round.  We regularly have fires going in the evening here until the end of May. When we first moved to our rural property, I had so many […]

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What Not to Do – Vegetable Gardening Tips from Real Gardeners

First, there was the year the slugs ate everything.  And I mean everything. Then there was the one where it was rainy and cold right through til the end of July (not terribly inspiring for anything but greens).  And who could forget 2012, when I didn’t even plant a garden because something else always got […]

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Rural Living Tips: The Power of Mentors

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As an urbanite, I had this long-held dream of homesteading, of living off our own rural property, collecting eggs from our free ranging chickens, picking and storing our own organic vegetables and fruit, and working from home. I think I even romanticized it a bit (ahem). The reality of rural living, of course, was a […]

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How to Choose the Best Seeds for Homesteading

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Cold, damp, dark.  It’s a typical February on the rainy west coast.  Not complaining – at least we’re not buried in snow, and the temperatures are relatively balmy compared to a big chunk of the continent.  It may not be a good time for soaking in the sun, but it is a great time to […]

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The Fear Factor: Modern Homesteading Style

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The fear started before we even moved in. Staying in our old cabin alone had been on my bucket list for years. Along with sleeping in a tent alone (which, I have to admit, I still haven’t done). The cabin we now live in had been in our family for about a decade before we […]

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How to Carry Firewood the Easy Way

Get the scoop on the easiest, cleanest, and most ergonomically correct way to carry firewood from the wood pile to your house.  A product review of the Apron Tote, which you can pick up from Lee Valley Tools. I’ve been using this handy ‘gadget’ since early 2010 and wouldn’t be without it.  It allows me […]

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How We Built a Holz Hausen (Beehive Wood Pile)

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I love all things ‘design’.  It’s how I make my living .  But sometimes, living in the country in the way we call ‘modern homesteading’ requires a more practical bent. When it comes to heating a rural home, you can’t really take any chances – at least not if you live anywhere where it actually […]

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Without My Dad, We’d Probably be Living in a Condo

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I’m looking out my office window at the foundation of the new addition we’re building onto our little cabin.  Or really, that my Dad is building as I keep working so I can pay for it.  And it’s got me to thinking about where we’d be without his talents, connections and desire to help. When […]

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Challenges & Benefits of Country Living – Part 1: The Cons/Challenges

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If you can count on me for anything, it’s to give you the straight goods on country living.   No fluff. You’re not going to find me waxing poetic about how la-de-da wonderful everything is every moment of every day – especially when it comes to the real benefits and challenges of living in the country. […]

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My Permaculture Journey Begins

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An architect, a midwife and a geophysicist walk into a room… No, it’s not the beginning of a witty joke.  It’s what I experienced yesterday as I began my year-long journey into the world of Permaculture design. If you’ve never heard of Permaculture, you’re not alone.  Even though it’s been around since the 1970s and […]

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