An Introduction to Chicken Breeds and Their Eggs Sep09

An Introduction to Chicken Breeds and Their Eggs

So, I wanted a chicken. Just a chicken, you know, for eating and laying eggs and stuff. Well boy-o-boy, I never knew there could be so many from which to choose. Chickens are kind of like dogs. There’s a million kinds and you get different behaviors from all of them. Then again, you eat chicken.  You do not eat Bobo, your oaf of a Great Dane. DO NOT EAT BOBO. If all of this seems overwhelming, the amazing people at Oh Lardy have a great guide to keeping chickens. Our favorite part of the post was the detailed image that serves as a cheat-sheet for what kind of eggs to expect from different breeds of chickens. Check out their photo/info graphic below and consider taking a glance at their Practical Guide to Keeping Chickens....

Building for Free with Papercrete Sep02

Building for Free with Papercrete

You have WAY too many newspapers on your stoop. Junk mail accounts for as much as 50% of your garbage. Your printer is evil and spits out hundreds of misaligned pages. Even if, by the grace of all that is holy, none of these descriptions currently fit your life, the odds are that there is excess paper somewhere in your vicinity. Good news! You can build something out of it. Up-cycle. Recycle. Reuse. Whatever you want to call it, re-purposing old materials to make something amazing is something of an art form. Papercrete is the medium by which some of the most amazing reuse projects are completed (including much of the house to the left). A doghouse? Sure, done. A shed? Give me a few weeks and you will have one free of charge. A house? Well, maybe. The amazing people over at Survival Life have put together a brief history and tutorial of the material. If you’ve had a hankering to build but didn’t have the funds, now you have no excuse. Oh, wait, but that means I don’t either....

Crowly Folk School Aug14

Crowly Folk School

Remember those things your grandfather just knew how to do? Almost like the knowledge came down from the heavens in the form of flannel-and-hat manna. And, just like the Hebrew people, you grew tired of the gift. Well, thankfully, all is not lost. Folk schools teach skills that are being forgotten with each passing generation. Crowly Folk School is one such  institution bringing back the skills it takes to live off the land and make beautiful things by hand. Their classes on cooking, growing, hiking, and making are beginning to take off.  Sponsored and managed in part by the Crowley Museum and Nature Center based out of Sarasota, Florida, there are many opportunities to help out and learn a thing or two along the way....

Eat Fresh (or Frozen) Jun09

Eat Fresh (or Frozen)...

Growing a successful, lush vegetable garden is a rewarding experience. Of that, there is no question. For those who have two green thumbs, harvest might mean picking more than you can chew. Learning how to properly preserve and freeze vegetables is a great way to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor. Cultivated has featured articles from Mother Earth News before, and for good reason. This article comes from the ever-wonderful Janet Chadwick, author of ““The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at Home”. When living and pursuing a sustainable life, little to nothing should be thrown away. Luckily, a bit of technology can save a bunch of veggies. ...

Food Every Year: Perennial Fruits and Vegetables Jun07

Food Every Year: Perennial Fruits and Vegetables

Planting a new crop every year takes quite a bit of work and dedication. Thankfully, the world has given us fruits and vegetables that you can plant one year and enjoy for the next several. Perennial fruits and vegetables are a great way to build a sustainable garden without spending dozens of hours each planting season. You might instantly think “apple tree,” but there are many, many more options out there that produce food year in and year out. The site Village Green Network offers some pretty great articles on all things sustainable, and this is one of their gems. When you think perennial, start thinking guacamole made from avocados, crunchy asparagus,  and sweet and sour raspberry pie....

Homemade Feta Cheese Jun06

Homemade Feta Cheese

Sometimes, you just need a little cheese. Most of the time, you don’t have the money for it (or at least I don’t). From the prolific blog Foodie With Family comes one of the most comprehensive recipes for making delicious, savory feta cheese. Here at Cultivated, we love the sustainability of raising goats, and one of the most enduring benefits of raising goats is the chance to make cheese. Just a few goats can produce way more milk, cheese, and yogurt than a small family can eat. The actually process of making cheese can be a bit intimidating for first timers. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This recipe is a pretty comprehensive list of ingredients and detailed instructions for first timers making their own cheese. With a modified recipe for those using goat’s milk, this might be the only post you will ever need to read to create some amazing, Wisconsin quality DIY feta cheese....

A Forum for the Rest of Us May07

A Forum for the Rest of Us

Sometimes, living a self-reliant life can be, well, a bit lonely. Getting sage advice from seasoned homesteaders and sustainable-minded individuals is vital to survive everything that nature and society can throw at you. Unfortunately, for most of us, there is no Gandalf-like sage for most of us. There are, however, pretty great forums where people who are trying to cultivate life meet and discuss a range of issues. It might be a bit obscure, but the Sustainable Country Forums have sparked and discussed more than a few pretty great topics. I hope to start sparking some new discussions soon.    ...

Dry Your Own Herbs May06

Dry Your Own Herbs

And no, not those kind of herbs (I’m looking at you, Colorado). If you have any space indoors or out, growing herbs like basil, mint, parsley and others is a no-brainer. We have some growing right outside our front door below the porch. Although they taste great fresh on eggs, pasta and the like, you can also easily dry them. Taste of Home actually has a great little tutorial on how to go about drying herbs. Their article  “How to Dry Herbs” is a great start for those who want to try out a few drying methods. Stop spending your hard earned money on herbs that barely have a taste to them at all. Begin cultivating a more self sustaining life....

DIY Jar Comb Honey May05

DIY Jar Comb Honey

Just to preface this, there is no one article to rule them all when it comes to beekeeping. There are, however, thousands of dedicated beekeepers who give their advice freely on sites like the BeeSource Forums. It’s a good thing, too. Bees are integral to the ecosystem. Without them, life would be much harder (and less delicious). So I thought, why not post a forum discussion on how to create stunning, incredibly effective Jar Comb Honey DIY beehives? This DIY Beekeeping thread shows how beekeeping can be a lifelong passion. If you grow a garden, have fruit trees, love the taste of honey, apply raw honey on skin blemishes, own a flower patch, or just generally respect the earth, try out this stunningly elegant solution to encourage the bee population in your area (and enjoy a tasty treat too).    ...

Morel Mushrooms Grown at Home May04

Morel Mushrooms Grown at Home

Sounds impossible. Sounds improbable. It can be done. Morel mushrooms might just be some of the tastiest mushrooms to grow in North America. In my neck of the woods, the things can be found by taking a walk in the park, having a mushroom identification book on hand, and slicing them down the middle to be sure of no false-positives. One thing is for sure, morels are not easy to find (and can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are looking for). So why not take the guess work out of it entirely? Mushroom Appreciation.Com  is a great resource for the mushroom lovers out there. In one of their more useful posts, the site discusses four different ways to grow moral mushrooms at home. The article “Different Ways of Growing Morel Mushrooms” is a god-send for all those seeking a better, safer, more convenient way to enjoy the tasty mushroom treat....

Eat Dandelions in 16 Delicious Ways May03

Eat Dandelions in 16 Delicious Ways

How many people do you see spraying harmful chemicals on the yellow “weeds” that invade yards known to all yard Nazis as “Dandelions”? Although considered a weed by some, others enjoy this plant as a gourmet green growing right outside the front door. The Prairie Homestead offers an article that is sure to change the hearts and minds of those who battle the little yellow flower year in and year out. Dandelions, just like any other plant, should not be eaten unless you know where they came from and whether or not they have been sprayed with chemicals. There are also some false-friend plants that you certainly should not eat. Once you do find some dandelions growing wild in your own naturally maintained yard (free of chemicals and pesticides), check out 16 Ways to Eat Dandelions....

Beginning the Road to Self Sufficiency May02

Beginning the Road to Self Sufficiency...

You don’t have to wait until you get your dream property to begin cultivating life. Starting on the road to self sufficiency can be as easy as changing a few buying and spending habits. “How Anyone Can Be More Self Sufficient” is a great article detailing ways that anyone, anywhere can begin to become more self-sufficient. Much like any major project, the hardest part is often starting at all. This article comes courtesy of Little House Living, a great blog run by self-proclaimed South Dakota country girl Marissa. If you want to learn more, visit their blog for tips, tricks, and wonderful posts almost daily....

Spinach Asparagus Leek Soup May01

Spinach Asparagus Leek Soup...

Sometimes, it’s hard to plan out what to eat. It can be even harder when you are trying to live a sustainable life. There are, however, thousands of great recipes that are easy to make with ingredients grown on a homestead or in a small garden. Spinach Asparagus Leek Soup is one of those great recipes. This soup recipe comes courtesy of what I believe to be the BEST restaurant in all of North Carolina. Amelie’s is a 24/7 French-inspired restaurant in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina. The atmosphere is amazing, the food even better, and the hours unbeatable. Spend a night eating until dawn at one of the finest establishments in North Carolina....

Center for Ecoliteracy: A Hub for Cultivating Sustainable Living Apr30

Center for Ecoliteracy: A Hub for Cultivating Sustainable Living...

You are never too old to learn something new. If learning about living a sustainable life isn’t worth the time, nothing is. There are quite a few resources out their to help aid in sustainable living, but it can be hard to find one that is well-designed. The Center for Ecoliteracy is a beautiful site dedicated to helping people learn about sustainable living. It’s worth a look or two (or three). Check out the resources at the Center for Ecoliteracy....

Chicken Coop Infographic Made of Win Apr29

Chicken Coop Infographic Made of Win...

I have a confession to make: i’m addicted to infographics. I’m also addicted to asparagus, but that’s a totally different (and sometimes smelly) addiction. Sometimes, I stumble upon an infographic that just cannot help but be shared. Sometimes, I consider getting a tattoo of said infographic. This is one of those times. Courtesy of the awesome blog Mom with a Prep comes this beautiful infographic. If you want to build and maintain a chicken coop, this is the infographic for you. Chicken coops are essential for any non-vegan who wants to cultivate life and live as sustainably as possible....

DIY Garden Trellis: Free, Easy, and Beautiful Apr28

DIY Garden Trellis: Free, Easy, and Beautiful...

Garden Trellises can be crazy expensive. They don’t have to be. These incredibly easy DIY Garden Trellis plans give gardeners another option to cultivate climbing plants. The truth of the matter is that no one wants to spend an extra 50 bucks on something if they can make it. With this garden trellis, you spend nothing but some time and branches. So if you have two hours and a few branches, get out their and start cultivating life!...

Ozoshare Sustainable Living Social Network Apr27

Ozoshare Sustainable Living Social Network...

If you’ve been looking for a free, Facebook style social network that revolves around sustainable living, this one might be for you. Ozoshare, although not as active as Facebook, has everything you could want in a social network. Private mail, events, groups, and a constantly updated timeline are all free to active users. For those who want to connect to other like-minded people who love to cultivate life, Ozoshare is a great social networking site....

The Driftless Folk School Apr26

The Driftless Folk School...

If you live anywhere near Wisconsin (or within close proximity to an airport), the Driftless Folk School is the ideal destination for the sustainably minded who want to learn, well, pretty much anything. Want to learn about fruit tree grafting? Interested in foraging for wild edibles? What about tiny home construction? The Driftless Folk School covers all of that and more. Located in La Farge, Wisconsin, this little school is the epitome of what it means to cultivate life. While you’re in the area check out the Driftless Cafe, an absolutely amazing farm-to-table restaurant in the nearby culture hub of Viroqua, Wisconsin....

Edible Container Gardens: 6 Tips Apr25

Edible Container Gardens: 6 Tips...

When you don’t have much space and the weather is violent, container gardens can be the perfect option for a bit of homegrown produce. When venturing into any gardening technique, a few tips from a seasoned professional is essential. Edible container gardens, when done right, can be a fun, convenient, and attractive way to grow vegetables, herbs, and even a few fruits. The Micro Gardener is the content-rich blog of Anne, gardener and small-space-genius. Want a way to grow without the space of a micro-farm? Container gardening might just be the answer....

Raising Goats: An Introduction Oct27

Raising Goats: An Introduction...

Raising goats is a much more rewarding enterprise than you might think. Valuable fiber, great meat, and a nearly unlimited supply of milk and cheese is waiting in these precocious, entertaining creatures. Raising goats does, however, require a bit of expertise and some hard work.  Grit (an off-shoot of Mother Earth News) offers some great advice for anyone who is thinking about raising a few goats. Check out the detailed info from Grit to start cultivating this valuable type of life....

Wiser.Org – A Network for Sustainability Oct26

Wiser.Org – A Network for Sustainability...

Wiser.Org is exactly what it says it is: a network for sustainability. Connecting with individuals from around the world for one common purpose is tempting, isn’t it? Although creating and joining groups of Facebook can be beneficial, some micro and niche social networks like Wiser.Org offer a better platform. The wide network of like minded people can help inspire people along their journey. Get connected, start cultivating life for a more sustainable future....

Starting from Seeds (Courtesy Organic Gardening Magazine) Oct25

Starting from Seeds (Courtesy Organic Gardening Magazine)...

Starting plants from seeds is an essential step in cultivating life and becoming truly self-sustaining. Creating sustainable agriculture means understanding how to start from seed in order to create and cultivate crops that are adapted to a unique geographical location. Organic Gardening is one of the best sites for those interested in cultivating life and learning organic gardening skills....

Vermicomposting Social Network (Yes, It Does Exist) Oct24

Vermicomposting Social Network (Yes, It Does Exist)...

Yes, there is a social network for people who love worms. Vermicomposting is the use of worms in composting techniques to create new soil, fertilizer, and rich compost. Vermicomposters.com is a social network and information hub for people interested and passionate about vermicomposting. It is much less strange than you might think: worms can be a powerful force in sustainability and organic gardening....

DIY Greenhouse from TreeHugger.Com’s Ramon Gonzalez Oct23

DIY Greenhouse from TreeHugger.Com’s Ramon Gonzalez...

Building a DIY greenhouse can extend your growing season, add a bit of aesthetic intrigue to your property, and offer a haven for unique plant species. TreeHugger.Com’s Ramon Gonzalez wrote a great DIY article “3 Easy DIY Greenhouses for Under $300” that showcases a few great ways to build greenhouses from recycled materials and materials purchased for under $300. TreeHugger.Com is a news hub and sustainability resource for those concerned about the environment, personal sustainability, and social and political issues....

Work on an Organic Farm: WWOOF Oct22

Work on an Organic Farm: WWOOF...

WWOOF is not just the sound a dog makes, it is also a well organized platform for individuals and groups who want to work on organic farms. The tagline “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms: Linking volunteers with organic farms and growers” perfectly explains the organizations direction and passion. Want to take a trip, learn some skills, and eat some great food? Check out the worldwide hub for WWOOF....