Mystery Weed Identified: Geranium Molle

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A number of Root Simple readers identified a plant that springs up in our backyard every winter. It’s Geranium molle.

Readily pollinated by hymenoptera, Geranium molle has two popular names: Dovefoot Geranium and Awnless Geranium.

Native to the Mediterranean, it was introduced to North America. The Plants for a Future database has a reference to the use of Geranium molle on wounds (Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants). Other than that, it’s not an exciting plant from a human perspective.

Name This Weed and Win . . .

mystery weed

. . . bragging rights. Extra points for telling us the scientific name.

I think it’s some kind of geranium and it’s been sprouting up in the backyard for years every winter. If allowed to grow it puts off small, uninteresting flowers.

I’m hoping it has rare pharmaceutical value. Then I could offer better prizes on Root Simple, like an all expenses paid trip to East Hollywood.

Picture Sundays: Superbowl Edition

treshombres-669x333 It’s the time of year when my in-box fills with misguided attempts to get me to blog about Superbowl snacks such as a bag of chocolate covered pretzels that looked like–there’s no nice way to say this–a sack of humanure. In response I’m posting, for the second year in a row, the gatefold of the ZZ Top album Tres Hombres. No snack stadium could possible out-compete this Texas sized combo platter. What are you up to today? Watching the game? Preparing for the next arctic vortex/drought? Reading homesteading blogs? Constructing a lacto-fermented snack stadium?

Saturday Linkages: Can We Please Have More Underpass Chandeliers?

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Ballroom Luminoso: Ugly freeway underpass beautified with recycled bike chandeliers : TreeHugger http://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/ballroom-luminoso-underpass-converted-bike-chandeliers-joe-oconnell-blessing-hancock.html …

Yes, the farm bill is politically corrupt. Veto it! http://goo.gl/fb/vhLtK 

What’s wrong with an ugly winter garden? http://gu.com/p/3mb4a/tw 

The secret light of plants by Elizabeth Licata http://feedly.com/e/_hlIqNZG 

California Legalized Selling Food Made At Home And Created Over A Thousand Local Businesses http://onforb.es/1e8mNCY 

Massive Water Reduction http://feedly.com/e/v787ggKN 

Fodder System Updates http://feedly.com/e/dKXb-Y-Q 

It’s Not the Snow, It’s Not the Politics: Blame the Car-Dependent City http://gizmodo.com/its-not-the-snow-its-not-the-politics-blame-the-car-1511337035 

MyFigueroa! Needs a Hero as Livable Streets Villains Line Up Against City’s First Cycletracks http://la.streetsblog.org/2014/01/29/myfigueroa-needs-a-hero-as-livable-streets-villains-line-up-against-citys-first-cycletracks/#.UumqSw7MlPw.twitter …

Extra Virgin Suicide: Olive Oil Corruption Slide Show http://nyti.ms/1f7yHcI 

Black Bean Soup http://feedly.com/e/lPhvrdNB 

Meet the Bakers: Louie and Clinton Prager http://feedly.com/e/KsUR-_dv 

Poultry Show Common Sense http://feedly.com/e/YNk88kWG 

Bee Colony Adapts to Human Environmental Impact by Using Plastic to Build Nests http://inhabitat.com/bee-colony-adapts-to-human-environmental-impact-by-using-plastic-to-build-nests/ …

Thin Wall Earthbag — 10x Faster than Typical Earthbag http://feedly.com/e/ulUxRdow 

Fantastical Garden Images

File:Sudama bows at the glimpse of Krishna's golden palace in Dwarka. ca 1775-1790 painting.jpg

Sudama bows at the glimpse of Krishna’s golden palace in Dwarka,. ca 1775-1790

Not to contribute to the dreaded analysis paralysis, but this Pintrest collection images of fantastical gardens– from medieval sources to contemporary artists–may inspire your own garden, or at least give you a good dose of winter inspiration.  Well worth a peek. Thanks to BoingBoing for the lead.

Sauerkraut demo at the Hollywood Farmers Market

Photo: Library of Congress

Photo: Library of Congress

Fellow Master Food Preserver Shelley Marks and I will be doing a sauerkraut demo this Sunday February 2nd at the Hollywood Farmers Market. We’ll make the kraut at 10 am and 12 pm. Between the kraut demos we’ll be sitting in the Master Food Preserver and Master Gardener table to answer questions for the duration of the market. Please drop by and say hello! It’s freeeeeeeeee!

How To Calculate Anything

Another way to remember those pesky formulas . . .

It needn’t come to this! (Though we think this is pretty cool.)

Need to calculate Ohm’s law? Convert women’s clothing sizes? Calculate the area of a circle? Figure out whether its better to buy or rent a home? It’s all at www.calculatoredge.com.

The site has lots of formulas for the urban homsteader even if you never have to perform a Sallen-Key Butterworth Low Pass Filter equation (except, perhaps, for recreational reasons).

Thanks to Bruce Nolte, N1BN for the tip.

Breadbaking (Level 1) Class at the Ecology Center

levain loaf

I’m teaching a basic no-knead bread class down in the OC at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano on Saturday February 8th. To sign up head over to the event page. Here’s the 411:

Ditch the preservatives and plastic wrap. Join us and learn how to make homemade, all-natural bread from scratch. Take home fresh and ready-to-bake dough!

There was a time in the not-so distant past that the smell of freshly baked bread permeated households everywhere. Let’s revert to those wholesome days and make a difference. In this hands-on workshop, we’ll make a simple loaf using the miraculous and easy Jim Lahey no-knead recipe. Topics discuessed will include types of flour, what kind of yeast to use, how to simulate a commercial bread oven at home, hydration ratios, kitchen tools, troubleshooting, and shaping a boule. Learn simple ingredients, tools, and techniques to master this simple recipe. Participants will enjoy fresh bread and leave with dough to take home and bake!

You must bring a mixing bowl, a tupperware container to take your dough home, a digital scale (if you have one), and an apron (if you have one).

By baking bread at home, you’re in charge of what goes into every loaf and can choose to incorporate local and organic ingredients. Other benefits of baking at home include using less energy (used in harvesting, processing, and shipping store-bought bread), using less plastic packaging, and spending less money. Become a baker and join us during this heart-healthy workshop to learn how.

Instructor: Erik Knutzen

Cost is $20 for Ecology center members and $30 for non-members. The Ecology Center is located at 32701 Alipaz St. in San Juan Capistrano, California.

Analysis Paralysis

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If you’re reading this blog, there’s no doubt that you’ve suffered from analysis paralysis. You’ve got to build that chicken coop, but you’re spending hours pouring over books, Pinterest boards and how-to websites. Add endless debates with your spouse and you’ve got a recipe for inaction. “Sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought” is the way Shakespeare describes this condition in Hamlet.

The re-design of our backyard lead to the worst analysis paralysis I’ve ever experienced. Weeks went by with no progress. Ideas came and went. The internet made it worse by providing way too many possibilities.

A quote in a book finally broke my analysis paralysis spell. The gist of that quote was that we are all called by a higher power to build. I realized that I needed to set a deadline, get off my ass and construct the raised beds that I had spend endless hours researching, planning and discussing. I told Mrs. Homegrown that this Saturday I was buying lumber and cutting wood. I quickly drew up plans in SketchUp and started working.

The first hexagonal raised bed attempt came out a bit too small so I went back to SketchUp and re-sized the plans.  My self imposed deadline worked. Within a few hours I had the beds that I wanted and was very pleased with the results. The analysis paralysis spell was broken. What had been a concept on a computer screen become reality in short order. It felt good.

Sometimes life is a struggle, but increasingly I feel the need to build more and struggle less. No more neighborhood council meetings. I’m fatigued reading about the latest political outrage, petitions and pleas in Facebook. At this point in my life I just want to build.

What was your worst case of analysis paralysis? How do you deal with it?