Chelsea Green Publishing

Can You Be a Radical Homemaker With an Unsupportive Partner?

What happens when one member of a couple wants to live a new kind of life—but the other doesn’t? “But you have Bob.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard that refrain about my husband since I first began promoting the ideals of radical homemaking. I rarely hear it publicly. It usually comes […]
Read More

Radical Homemaking: It’s Not a Competition

As publishers of a book about ecological, values-centered living, my husband Bob and I have experienced many moments of guilty squeamishness. Because I spent so much time studying the subject, and because we believed in the ideas strongly enough to pony up the cash and take Radical Homemakers to the printer, we feel we’re supposed […]
Read More

Saying Goodbye: What Do We Teach Kids about Death?

My grandfather is dying. He is 92, and just before Christmas he came down with pneumonia. His health and awareness have been in steady decline since then, and his doctors have begun preparing us for the end. Uncle Tommy and Aunt Kimmie, who moved in with him a few years ago, have been overseeing his […]
Read More

My Antidote to Overwhelm

Yesterday morning, when I finished writing for the day, I signed on to check my email. From the sea of unread messages, one stood out. The subject line, written in all caps, read: HOW DO YOU DO IT ALL? The more I write, the more I speak, the more I hear this question. It’s understandable. […]
Read More

Homemade Prosperity

It should have been a high point in my life. I had just successfully defended my dissertation and had three potential job opportunities. But I found myself pacing around our cabin or walking the hills of my family’s farm, alternately weeping and hurling invectives into the country air. Bob and I were fighting with a […]
Read More

Sharing the Harvest

If I had to choose one food whose flavor fully encapsulates the glory of fall, it would have to be the wild apple. One can close her eyes, take a bite, and know what it is to taste an autumn-blue sky accented by golden rods, deep purple asters, the lush of green pasture, and the […]
Read More

Radical Homemaking for the Real World

In writing with fondness about my life in Schoharie County, I seem to have given the impression that it is some sort of nirvana, where old and young are united in a shared passion for the culture and landscape; where age-old skills for resourceful living are handed down through family and neighbors, enabling each successive generation to carve out a healthy and sustainable, albeit modest, living in these hills and valleys. I do believe that is happening here. But not necessarily as some might imagine.
Read More

The Work Ahead

May hits us like an ice water dousing on a drowsy morning. It is simultaneously shocking and deeply refreshing. Winter’s leisurely breakfasts are suddenly a thing of the past: Bob and I scarcely have time to join each other for a cup of coffee before we find ourselves on our hands and knees weeding asparagus, donning nets to check on the beehives, pounding posts to trellis new grape vines, digging holes for new fruit trees, or heading down to the farm to make sausage before the farmer's market starts. I help my dad vaccinate the sheep and bag fleeces for the mill; he examines the flock for parasites, moves the broilers out to pasture, checks the fences, hauls hay bales to the cattle to tide them over until the pastures are amply lush, and monitors the grasses and our very pregnant ewes. My mom faces an endless barrage of dishes to wash following our luncheon feasts (made larger to accommodate our springtime appetites), handles the incoming meat orders, and helps us care for the girls. But despite all our activity, we still feel as though we are in the calm before the storm that will hit when lambing season officially begins. All other away-from-home plans are subject to the whims of nature as our family readies to welcome the spring crop of newborns.
Read More

The Case for Sustainable Meat

Can meat have a place in the life of a “radical homemaker” trying to live sustainably? Farmer Shannon Hayes believes it can. posted May 12, 2010   I recently released a new book, Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture. The result of three years of obsessive research, the book is something of a […]
Read More

The Kid Question

How one woman decided whether reproduction had a place in her quest for a sustainable life. By Shannon Hayes When I first began sharing my newest research endeavor—to explore the role of homemaking in healing our current global crises—I spoke with a slight tremor in my voice. I was afraid of what people might think: […]
Read More