Saturday Linkages: Artisinal DIY

Looks like the use of the word "artisinal" has peaked.

Looks like the use of the word “artisinal” peaked–back in the 1990s!

Artisinal Everything
Artisanal Won’t Die – Jen Doll – The Atlantic Wire …

Make a Teardrop Camper Trailer: …

Backyard Bioshelter …

Shed of the Year 2013 entrants via

Revolutionary Finnish Wood-splitting Axe …

The best LED grow lights:

Just Add Water: Concrete Buildings Built With Air + H2O | Designs & Ideas on Dornob …

We close with a quote:
“Inconvenient truths tend to create more anxious neurotics than they do enlightened stakeholders.” -Douglas Rushkoff in his new book Present Shock

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Bee Fever in Los Angeles

honey love photo

Photo: Honey Love.

This week’s LA Weekly has an article, “Could LA Become a Honeybee Mecca” detailing efforts by two groups, Honey Love and the Backwards Beekeepers, to legalize beekeeping in Los Angeles. The process, while slow, looks promising thanks to the hard work of Honey Love and sympathetic city councilman Bill Rosendahl.

The article also neatly sums up the radical “backwards” approach to beekeeping advocated by LA’s maverick urban beekeeper Kirk Anderson,

Anderson learned from apiarist Charles Martin Simon, who invented the concept of “beekeeping backwards.” Simon’s approach was stupidly simple: Give the bees a clean box, put them in it and leave them alone. If they get sick? Don’t medicate them. Let them die. Then get some more bees.

Amen. Selecting for strong bees is an approach that, in my opinion, holds the answers to colony collapse disorder.

I also like Anderson’s thoughts on mainstream beekeeper’s all consuming obsession with counting varoa mites. Anderson says, “To me it’d be like joining the Kennel Club and talking about my dog’s fleas.”

Fruit Tree Update: Flavor Delight Aprium

flavor delight aprium

One of my big regrets is not planting a bunch of fruit trees when we first moved into our house in 1998.* Thankfully though, we got our act together eventually. In 2011, we put in a call local fruit tree expert Steve Hovfendahl for some suggestions. His advice was based on what would grow in our warm climate as well as fruit tasting results conducted by the Dave Wilson nursery.

It’s been over two years since we planted the trees Hovfendahl suggested and they are just beginning to bear fruit. We ordered one too many trees and had to stick the Flavor Delight Aprium in a less than idea location (too much shade). Despite the lack of sun the tree bore some fruit in late May and it sure was tasty–the perfect balance between sweet and tart.

The Flavor Delight Aprium is a cross between a plum and an apricot that is hardy to zones 6 to 10 and requires less than 300 hours below 45°F, making it ideal for warm climates. It’s one of many hybrid fruit trees developed painstakingly over many years by Zaiger Genetics. In terms of taste and appearance it’s more of an apricot than a plum.

If you live in the right climate I highly recommend this tree.

* Note from Kelly: In our defense, we didn’t plant trees because we didn’t think we had room. Back then we didn’t know  about “Backyard Orchard Culture” — which, in a nutshell, means keeping fruit trees small. This is also discussed on the Dave Wilson site. This is really important information for any homesteader.

Picture Sundays: A Keyhole Bed and Straw Bale Garden in Texas

keyhole and straw bale garden

John W. from Kerrville, Texas sent in some pictures of his garden. John says,

This is my first year to use compost tea.  I am growing plants in two Keyhole Gardens, self watering 5 gal plastic buckets and two hay bales (coastal Bermuda hay) that have a wooden framework on top containing bulk landscaping compost from a local nursery. My plants are growing super fast and my tomatoes are loaded.  This looks to be the best garden I have ever had.

Judging from the fencing it looks like you’ve also figured out a way to deal with the deer. Thanks for the pics John and good luck with the garden!

Saturday Linkages: $1 Homes, Compost Heated Showers and Potty Talk

Gary Indiana $1 home program

3573 Lincoln Gary, Indiana. Yours for $1.

Home Sweet Home
Gary Indiana unveils Dollar Home Program: 

Pipe planters …

Mariposa Nabi Community Garden features this alter via @GlenDake …

IKEA Hackers: New life for Old Poang!

13 Ways To Turn Your Outdated ’90s Tech Into Truly Usable Things …

The Good Life Lab: A modern manual for living off-the-grid: …

Compost Heated Shower …

More on Compost Heated Showers …

Car Talk
Millennials not buying cars, Ford panics: …

Attacking the Language Bias in Transportation Engineering …

Potty Talk
Dollar Shave Club Bets on a Stealth Craze: Wipes for Men

Is this the world’s smallest bathroom? …

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