World’s Largest Chard Grows in SIP

...he winter rains and grew even bigger. Then, early this spring, as part of our whole “dealing with the lead” problem we tore out the two raised beds in Lead Central in order to dig out the clay beneath them to make adobe bricks. By this time SuperChard was so magnificent I couldn’t kill him (around this time I began to anthropomorphize the chard), so I trimmed off his outer leaves (some of which were as long as my arm) and transp...

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Made in the shade- Passive cooling

...a passive building in the humid South, might feature carefully placed windows to maximize air flow. In the desert Southwest, where temperatures can be scorching in the summer and freezing in the winter, thick, heavy walls of adobe, strawbales or rammed earth provide protection from extreme weather conditions. Here in the Homegrown neighborhood, most of us live in old houses that are not designed with passive solar features. The Homegrown Evolut...

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Bread Ovens of Quebec Free e-book

...rety online. The book includes the history of the Quebec oven, how to build an oven, bread recipes and even “popular beliefs, spells, incantations, and omens” associated with ovens. I’m really happy with the adobe oven we have in our backyard–it has produced many a tasty pizza and I look forward to having people over to give me an excuse to fire it up. Ovens, in Quebec households were associated with life itself and I unde...

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CooKit Solar Cooker Made Out of Wood

...f  1/4 inch plywood leftover from fixing up Mrs. Homegrown’s writin’ shed. Rather than send that plywood to the dump I decided to make a more permanent CooKit. I blew up the CooKit pdf from the SCI website using Adobe Illustrator.  I did a tiled printout and taped the pieces together to create a life sized pattern. I used this pattern to cut out the plywood pieces. I spray glued the aluminum foil to the plywood. Next, I drilled hol...

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How to save tomato seed

...paper plates. Tomato seeds stick to paper towels, so if you use those you may end up having to plant the seeds on their little bits of towel. Once they are bone dry, transfer to envelopes or glass jars for storage. Be sure to label! *I just lost a batch to germination. I blame the heat. It didn’t seem like they’d be fermenting that long, but after I drained my seeds I saw the tiny little white nubbins poking out of the seeds. Now I...

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Making Salves, Lip Balms & etc.: Close of the Calendula Series

...e mix starts to cool. I find that the lip of a liquid measuring cup gives enough control to fill even those fiddly little plastic lip balm tubes. Let the containers sit, open, until they are completely cool. Then lid them and label them. Clean up: The best way I’ve found to deal with the waxy grease residue (since I stopped using paper towels) is to shake a generous amount of baking soda into the dish and then rub it around. The soda lifts...

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Harvesting and Drying Calendula

...rd are older than that. I think some herbs keep their properties longer than others, but in general you should try to use them in a year or so. Like spices, the are best fresh, but usable, if not as potent, as they age.  Label and date all your herbs. Even if you think you’ll never forget, somehow or another you will, and at some future find yourself standing at your cupboard, holding a jar full of strange plant matter and saying to yo...

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Noodler’s Ink Reusable Fountain Pen

Julia just wrote a post on Ramshackle Solid about our newest solution to the frustration of disposable pens: Noodler’s Ink and fountain pens. From the Noodler’s website: Why Noodler’s? “Noodler’s Ink” has the lowest cost per volume in stores that carry it and it’s 100% made in the USA from cap to glass to ink. The ink with the catfish on the label symbolizes a southern sport that attempts to equalize the struggle between man a...

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Grassfed Turkey Cooking Tips from Shannon Hayes

...ime to know what you are buying! “Pastured” is not necessarily the same as “free-range.” Some grass-based farmers use the word “free-range” to describe their pasture-raised birds, but any conventional factory farm can also label their birds “free-range” if they are not in individual cages, and if they have “access” to the outdoors – even if the “outdoors” happens to be feces-laden penned-in concrete pads outside the barn door, with no acce...

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