July Linkages

Mrs. Homegrown seen creating a “hyperlink” in between gardening and food preservation duties.

Over at Small Measure, author Ashley English is hosting a contest and giving away a jar of “lip-smacking Peach & Lavender Butter” to promote her upcoming series of homesteading books. Look for a new contest each month. English’s “Canning & Preserving”, published by Lark Books, will be available April 2010. The third and fourth books in the series, “Home Dairy” and “Beekeeping”, will be available in April 2011. Hopefully we’ll be having English on our new Homegrown Evolution Podcast that will debut when we can get our computer, seen above, to record audio.

A few blog posts ago we answered a question about soil testing. Visiting journalist Michael Tortorello tipped us off to the University of Minnesota’s Soil Testing Laboratory that will test out of state samples for their regular (low) fee. Their submission forms are located here. Also, readers of this blog will enjoy Tortorello’s articles, especially “The Return of the Root Cellar”.

Community building is something we consider essential for this, as of now, no-named movement. And yet, it seems we are better at meeting online than in person. Danah Boyd has an interesting article, “Why Youth Heart Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life.” (26 page pdf) about why kids flock to social networking sites. Hint: they don’t have anywhere else to meet.

Lastly, nothing says DIY like prison improvised escape tools.

Time Banking

So what is money but an abstract representation of misery, time spent doing things we’d all rather not be doing? How about an alternative? How about taking all of our hard earned capital away from the Wall Street types? Get ready for time banking.

With time banking, you get together with your local community members, friends and family and exchange hours rather than currency. Time Bank USA describes the concept succinctly:

“For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one Time Dollar. Then you have a Time Dollar to spend on having someone do something for you.”

Time banking isn’t defined as barter, so you don’t have to pay taxes on services or goods exchanged. And time banking is egalitarian–everyone’s hours are valued equally–an hour of digging a ditch is the same as an hour of legal services, or acupunture or whatever.

Homegrown Evolution met our local Echo Park Time Bank organizers Lisa Gerstein and Autumn Rooney last night at a joint appearance we did at Materials & Applications. Gerstein and Rooney, related to the audience a number of success stories from the time bank, such as how one busy woman was able to keep her cat after the time bank found someone to administer daily shots while she is at work.

With our economy in a tailspin, Time Banking has great potential. If there isn’t a time bank in your area Time Bank USA has software and assistance to help you set up one.

Come see us at the fair!

Photo simulation of Feral House booth by euthman

We’ll be at the West Hollywood Book Fair tomorrow, Sunday 9/28. It’s free, and fun, and star-studded. Please stop by and say hi!

12:00- 12:55:
We’ll be doing a panel discussion titled “Sustainable LA” with Ed Begley Jr. (!) and Thomas Kostigen.
Location: The Open Book Pavillion, on the San Vicente side of the park.
1:oo-2:00:
We’ll be signing The Urban Homestead at the Feral House Booth/Sexy Groove Lounge with the Feral House Pixies. Other spectacular Feral House/Process authors will be signing throughout the day, too.
Location: booths C8 & C9, in the “Imix” zone, which is sort of between the food court and the pool.
2:00-2:30:
We’re doing a demo at the booth–making butter!
Afterward we’ll just be hanging out for the rest of the day. Hope to see you there!

iBullshit

It’s amazing how insidious is the real religion of our age, brand allegiance. In the PC vs. Mac argument I often find myself, unconscious and zombie-like, coming to the defense of a company run by a turtle neck wearing multi-billionaire.

Sweater wear aside, Apple’s got a lot to answer for on the environmental front. In a provocative earth day post, bike-riding comrade and Apple store employee Mikey Wally calls out Apple for their green bullshit. Read it here.

We’re not quite back . . .

In response to numerous requests, Homegrown Evolution had intended to give a photo tour of our Los Angeles compound, but computer problems are preventing this. You will all have to settle for the drawing above while we resolve vexing software/hardware issues.

Though not Luddites, we’ve been contemplating a break from staring at computer screens. And less computering time means we’ll have a few moments to give the hovercraft a tuneup.

Spent Grain Bread–We Brew Econo


D. Boon from the Minutemen (the musicians, not the rifle clutching revolutionary war dudes or the contemporary anti-immigrant racist dudes) dreamt of a day where every block would have its own band, a distributed and democratic D.I.Y network of musical creativity encircling the globe. Why trek to faraway Hollywood when you can jam at home in San Pedro?

With the band on every block, Homegrown Evolution would like to add a brewery in every kitchen (seems like a obvious combination). Last week we made our first attempt at beer, in the improvised two gallon plastic tub on the right, and next week we’ll know if it’s worth drinking or if it’s compost. We’ll do a taste test and report back on the whole process when we crack the first bottle.

What we do know was a success is using the spent grains, the leftover malted barley and crystal malt that we used in the beer recipe, which are strained out before the beer is put away to ferment, as a flavoring for our wild yeast bread (recipe and instructions for making that bread here—we added 4.5 ounces of the spent grains to the dough–and we just threw them in whole without grinding them up as some folks on the internets suggest). The rich, smoky taste and the dark color these grains imparted to the bread makes us want to brew another batch of beer soon, if just to make bread. The spent grains we didn’t use for bread got fed to the chickens who clucked appreciatively.

Tolosna Bean


The beautiful beans pictured above are some sort of Spanish bean called “Tolosna”. Our occasional houseguest, Nance Klehm, gave us these beans from her personal seed archive, along with a few other remarkable seeds we’ll profile as we plant them over the next few months. We’ve promised to save some of the seeds we harvest to return to her archive.

Unfortunately we’ve been unable to find any information on this variety of bean other than a brief mention on a crappy ad-packed website:

“Introduced in the late 1920′s, a beautiful wine red and cinnamon in color. Similar in flavor to the White Aztec bean. A favorite with Chefs in a 1998 taste test.”

What 1998 taste test? Clearly the internet isn’t the place to sort out the many varieties of Spanish beans, so dear readers, if you have any info on these seeds, please let us know. Thankfully the internet does provide us with disco dancing instructions in Finnish, so until we figure out more about these beans you all can work on your moves:

SUSTAINABLE LA @ Farmlab/Under Spring

Join Homegrown Revolution for the SUSTAINABLE LA film fest at the Farmlab/Under Spring. Curated by the fine folks at the Echo Park Film Center, the program will take place Saturday, December 8 at 7 pm. The evening begins with a potluck dinner so please bring food to share.

Approximate Program Times:
This Is The LA River: 7:30
Sustainable LA Shorts: 8:30

More info: www.farmlab.org

On the program will be Homegrown Revolution’s short about how to build a self-watering container as well as comrade Elon Schoenholz’s “You Can’t Compost Concrete” and a little something from the Wolfpack Hustle kids.

From the announcement:

Sustainable LA is a celebration of Angelinos engaged in the green revolution. The one-hour program consists of short films on a variety of topics including urban gardening, environmental awareness and community activism. In keeping with the grassroots nature of many of these organizations, emphasis is on issues awareness, practical information exchange and hands-on participation.