Picture Sundays: An Altoid Box EDC

Altoid Box EDC

Reader Ben Wison sent sent an email about his EDC (everyday carry), along some photos,

Wanted to let you see my EDCs. enjoyed your posts, and figured I would share my improvised Altoids tin. The dividers are made from empty tins cut and riveted in place. My next addition is a iron thin envelope under the mints containing a mini survival kit.

Ben promises an update once the mini-survival kit is assembled.

Want to see more EDC “pocket dump” photos? Check out everyday-carry.com.

Got a favorite Altoid box project? Leave a link . . .

Saturday Linkages: Black Soldier Flys, DIY Power Bars and CDFA Thugs are Killing Bees Again

How to Build a DIY Black Soldier Fly Composter (Video) : TreeHugger http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/how-build-diy-black-soldier-fly-composter-video.html …

Are You A Chicago Gardener? Take This Survey http://greenroofgrowers.blogspot.com/2013/02/are-you-chicago-gardener-take-this.html#.UTo_UPrAm4A.twitter …

My Solar Adventures- DIY solar and arduino projects: How to : DIY Solar Backpack with Solar Mobile phon… http://mysolaradventures.com/2012/06/how-to-diy-solar-backpack-with-solar.html?spref=tw …

How to Make Easy 3-Ingredient Energy Bars at Home Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-easy-3-ingredient-energy-bars-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-184306 …

Curly Parsley and Arugula Pesto http://www.foodinjars.com/2013/02/curly-parsley-and-arugula-pesto/ …

Bad Ideas Department
CDFA thugs killing bees: Pest versus pollinator? | News | Santa Maria Sun, CA http://www.santamariasun.com/news/9452/pest-versus-pollinator/#.UTo7chMwEko.twitter …

The American Plan to Build Nuclear Power Plants in the Ocean http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/paleofuture/2013/02/the-american-plan-to-build-nuclear-power-plants-in-the-ocean/#.UTfFax5lLoc.twitter …

Good Ideas Department
DRM Chair that works only 8 times: http://hackaday.com/2013/03/04/drm-chair-only-works-8-times/ …

Nature Blows My Mind! This 80,000-Year-Old Aspen Grove Clones Itself : TreeHugger http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/natural-sciences/nature-blows-my-mind-80000-year-old-aspen-grove-clones-itself/ …

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

Book Review: An Everlasting Meal

Everlasting Meal Book Cover

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, by Tamar Adler, is  a popular book. I had to wait in a queue of 40 people to get it from the library. So I suspect some (all?) of you have already read it. I know someone mentioned it in the comments lately. But I thought I’d mention it for others who, like me, are always the last to know what’s going on. The theme of the book is also on track with last week’s posts about cheap eating and beans.

Adler’s book is not a cookbook. It has recipes throughout, but its mission is more about imparting an attitude, a style, a way of thinking in the kitchen, than delivering recipes. In fact, the core of her message is that you don’t need a recipe to cook.

I was attracted to this book because it is reportedly inspired by M.F.K. Fisher’s book, How to Cook a Wolf, which is one of my favorites, and well worth checking out if you haven’t. Wolf is a wartime book about living well on very little. And An Everlasting Feast is indeed very Fishereque, both in form and tone.

Continue reading…

Growing Your Own Food is Like Printing Your Own Money: Ron Finley’s TED Talk

Please take a moment and watch gangster/guerrilla gardener Ron Finley’s inspiring Ted talk. I first heard about Ron after he got busted for planting a vegetable garden in what used to be a weed strewn parkway. He’s gone on to plant many more gardens around Los Angeles.

The end of this talk really hit home for me, “Don’t call me if you want to sit around and have meetings. If you want to meet with me come to the garden with your shovel so we can plant some s**t.”


Arduino Homesteading Projects

Arduino Chicken Coop Controller

An Arduino-based chicken coop controller on Instructables.

At the risk of putting high tech in our low tech, I just took an introductory Arduino class at Crash Space along with the folks at Zapf Architectural Renderings.

An Arduino is a simple, low cost microcontroller thingy. It’s got a bunch of digital outputs, analog and digital inputs and a programmable microchip. You download a program onto the chip (either one you’ve written yourself or one of thousands of programs others have written) and then hook up electronics to the inputs and/or outputs. The Arduino can then be disconnected from your computer to run autonomously.

Aruduino Leonardo

You can get a nearly infinite number of devices, called “shields”, that plug into the Arduino–to give the device, for example, GPS or wireless capabilities. And there are vast libraries of programs for Arduinos–useful for non-programmers such as myself.

In the class we used the $24 Leonardo model of the Arduino, which is commonly used for prototyping. Once you figure out what inputs and outputs you need for your project you can get a cheaper Arduino with fewer features for use in, let’s say, your automatic chicken coop door opener.

I thought I’d compile a list of Arduino based project related to the “low-tech, home-tech” subjects covered on this blog. I’ll keep updating this list as I hear of more projects.

Chicken coop controller

Garden Bot (information about “an open source garden monitoring system). Includes links to other Arduino based gardening projects.
Gardening moisture sensor/watering controllers
An Arduino waterer that tweets!
DIY Hydroponics
Weather station

Homebrewing Automation With Arduinos (Homebrewing.com article)
Arduino Controlled Homebrew Stir Plate
DIY UberFridge Controls Homebrewing Temperatures

Sous-vide cooking
Kitchen Timer

Garage door monitor
Arduino Security Hacks

Fun with a rotary phone!

Led candle (would look great in my hacked solar light)

And a shout out to the amazing bloggers at Holy Scrap, masters of using microcontrollers in clever low-tech ways. Follow their blog!

Please leave a comment with a link if you know of other projects that should be on this list.