Extreme Low-Tech Communication


This has to be the ultimate achievement in low-powered long-distance communication. Ham radio operator Michael Rainey, AA1TJ, transmitted a message over a distance of over 1,000 miles by yelling Morse code with his own voice into this primitive home-made transmitter, nicknamed “El Silbo.” No power was used other than that generated by his own voice vibrating the microphone (which was a re-purposed speaker).

If you want to build your own here’s the circuit schematic and more details.

And here’s Rainey, back in 2009, using El Silbo:

On a side note, can we please apply Ham radio’s level of detail and open source spirit to the world of backyard vegetable gardening?

Composting the Deceased/ My DIY Funeral Fantasies


When I die, I want to return to the elements. In the best case scenario, I’ll be food. I mean, I suppose the bacteria get us all, unless we’re cremated, but I don’t want to be locked inside a coffin, with most of my potential nutrient value going to waste.  This obsession has led to several funeral fantasies, which I like share with Erik spontaneously, usually while we’re grocery shopping or something, much to his dismay. I think he’s pretty much praying statistics will hold true and he’ll predecease me.

Continue reading…

Saturday Linkages: Bitters, Dogs and Native Plants

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What our hometown looked like in the 1920s.

We Only Bond with Complex Landscapes | Garden Rant http://gardenrant.com/2013/12/we-only-bond-with-complex-landscapes.html …

How To Make Homemade Bitters Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-bitters-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-197883 …

100 Years of Dog Breed “Improvement” http://wp.me/p1VSYl-eg 

Los Angeles Was Once a Forest of Oil Derricks http://southland.gizmodo.com/los-angeles-was-once-a-forest-of-oil-derricks-1469825345 …

Full-color handout for plant-based eating. Tips for food, nutrition, shopping. http://truelovehealth.com/2013/12/04/how-to-eat-more-plant-based-meals-handout-now-available/ ….

Eagle Rock backyard yields fresh fruit and food for the hungry http://www.theeastsiderla.com/2013/12/eagle-rock-backyard-yields-fresh-fruit-and-food-for-the-hungry/ …

Native plants: restoring an idea–http://www.patternliteracy.com/116-native-plants-restoring-to-an-idea …

In the U.S., recycling is often pigeonholed as… – Unconsumption http://disq.us/8gf2so 

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

Who Wants Seconds? Winner Announced


What a great response we’ve had on this one! Thank you all for entering, and thanks to Jennie for giving us this book to share with you all.

We’ve also enjoyed seeing how you all self-identify. Eating has become such a complex, even fraught activity. My grandmother would boggle at discussions like this, I suspect. I don’t think she even knew the word vegan.

Since we’ve heard from you all, we’ll share our preferences: We eat mostly vegetarian, but will eat meat if it comes from an impeccable source. Preferably we will actually know the farmer. This kind of meat is hard to come by and very expensive, so we eat it rarely–maybe six times a year. Though we eat dairy, we do our best to eat grass fed dairy, and mostly our own eggs, and this limits availability and raises costs as well, so many of our meals are actually vegan.

Okay! I know! Enough blathering. This morning we generated a number at random.org and counted down the comments until we got to our winner.

And the winner is….


Congratulations, Siri!

We have Siri’s email address since she didn’t comment anonymously. We’ll be sending her an email right now, so we can exchange mailing information.  So look for our email, Siri!

Again, thank you all for entering!