Santa Gets a License

34635rFrom the library of congress:

Santa Claus receives aeroplane pilot’s license from Assistant Secretary of Commerce. Although there may not be sufficient snow for his reindeer sleigh, Santa Claus will still be able to deliver his load of presents on time this Christmas by using the air route. The old saint called at the Commerce Department in Washington today where he is shown receiving an aeroplane pilot’s license from Assistant Secretary of Commerce. for Aeronautics William P. MacCracken, while Clarence M. Young (right) Director of Aeronautics, Department of Commerce, looks on. Airway maps and the assurance that the lights would be burning on the airways Christmas Eve were also given to Santa.

Did they have more spare time in the 1920s for these high jinks? Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy new year to all of you.

Roots Simple’s Last Minute Gift Guide

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A KCET blogger asked a couple of Master Food Preservers, including myself, what we thought would be good gifts for homesteady types. We all came up with, pretty much, the same items. Here’s the ones I suggested:

Saving the Season by Kevin West. We reviewed this book a few months ago but I’ll say it again: this is my favorite book on food preservation.

417AOIGAt9LExcalibur dehydrator with stainless steel trays. Expensive, but this thing works a lot better than those cheap round dehydrators. Truly the Cadillac of deyhdrators.

il_570xN.503980826_66051.5 liter lactofermentation kit. Yes, you can make one yourself, but this is a nice all-glass model. Plus, when you buy this you are supporting Ernest Miller who has given countless volunteer hours to build LA’s Master Food Preserver program.

What did you give to the homesteaders in your life? Or did you forgo gifts altogether?

Saturday Linkages: Holiday Edition

How Children Demanding Play Streets Changed Amsterdam http://feedly.com/e/ejQo__gG

Overpriced, useless, or just plain bizarre: an anti-garden gift guide http://gardenrant.com/2013/12/overpriced-useless-or-just-plain-bizarre-an-anti-garden-gift-guide.html …

Half Of Supermarket Chicken Harbors Superbugs, Consumer Reports Finds http://huff.to/JKYa1W 

Why LA’s local water strategy is like ‘Superman 3’ http://www.scpr.org/news/2013/12/13/40922/with-water-from-the-delta-uncertain-la-looks-to-ex/ …

Bike helmets and safety: a case study in difficult epidemiology – Boing Boing http://boingboing.net/2013/12/15/bike-helmets-and-safety-a-cas.html …

Avoid Antibacterial Soaps, Say Consumer Advocates http://on.natgeo.com/18Pptyh 

Arizona Food and Farm Finance Forum 2014 http://garynabhan.com/i/archives/2366 

Practical Permaculture – Planting Under Fruit Trees http://wp.me/p2Lm7J-wK 

For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter:

Fruit Tree Maintenance Calendars

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Where we live, it’s the time of year to prune and deal with pest issues on fruit trees. The University of California has a very helpful page of fruit tree maintenance calendars for us backyard orchard enthusiasts.  The calendars cover everything from when to water, fertilize, paint the trunks and many other tasks. You can also find them in one big handy set of charts in UC’s book The Home Orchard.

The permaculturalist in me likes our low-maintenance pomegranate and prickly pear cactus. But I also like my apples, nectaplums and peaches–and those trees need the sorts of interventions described in UC’s calendars. Time to get to work . . .