Make a Sourdough Starter

...se annoying packages of commercial yeast and bake bread the way ancient folks did for thousands of years. Just remember to feed your starter every day. We use the Torah’s mitzvah which suggests first feeding one’s animals (in our case our sourdough “pet”) before feeding yourself. 6. If you feel guilty about pouring off that cup of flour every day, and you aren’t making a loaf of bread, try making some sourdough panc...

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It’s Official: The End is Near

...sed ethanol, a biofuel that has surged in popularity over the past year, has pushed up the price of corn, Mr. Smith’s main feed, to near-record levels. Because feed represents farms’ biggest single cost in raising animals, farmers are serving them a lot of people food, since it can be cheaper. Connecting the stories and ads in the WSJ is our favorite game to play in the morning over our coffee. We’re not alone in playing this ga...

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How to Get Skunks Out of Your Basement and Yard

...horrible death and then stink up the house for months. The answer is to create a one-way critter exit. To make an exit you need a raccoon trap. I got a cheap one at Harbor Freight. But you’re not going to use it to trap animals. Trapping is a hassle, and I’d hate to have to deal with a pissed off skunk stuck in a trap. Thankfully these traps open up on both sides. Open both ends and you’ve essentially got a wire tube that will s...

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Radical Apiculturalist Michael Thiele

Micheal Thiele approaches a hive. Could the huge loss of bees in recent years be because we treat them, like so may other farm animals, as cogs in a big industrial ag machine?  This is just one of the questions posed by apiculturalist (he rejects the term “beekeeper” – more on that below) Michael Thiele at a workshop Kelly and I attended which was sponsored by Honey Love. The language of bees Thiele began his lecture with a cr...

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Composting the Deceased/ My DIY Funeral Fantasies

...lop the method, I expect he’d appreciate the spirit of thing. So, the following instructions and the diagram above are the totality of my notes and knowledge of the subject: A Hypothetical Method of Composting Humans or Animals: This is entirely above ground. First you build a platform of sticks/small logs to provide drainage and aeration, about 1.5 feet high. The deceased is placed on the stick pile. The body is covered with a 1 foot laye...

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Roundup

...r of cancers potentially induced, nor the time frame within which they would declare themselves,” Belle acknowledges. There is, indeed, direct evidence that glyphosate inhibits an important process called RNA transcription in animals, at a concentration well below the level that is recommended for commercial spray application. There is also new research that shows that brief exposure to commercial glyphosate causes liver damage in rats, as indica...

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As Above, So Below

Inspired by the response to my post on the need to keep our gardens dark, I decided to reclaim my childhood telescope from my mom’s garage and get it working again. It occurred to me that I haven’t looked up at the night sky in a long time. What a shame. This past week I’ve been thinking about how important it is to look up at the stars–just as important, I think, as staying in touch with the plants, insects and animals...

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Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

...hem to our own particular situation and climate. To help us do this, he breaks down the methodologies into conceptual chunks, like catching runoff, using efficient water delivery systems, easing heat stress in both plants and animals, tips on orcharding in uncertain climates, choosing stress tolerant and/or quick maturing plant varieties, etc.  All of this information is supported with helpful tables and plant lists. While some of his information...

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Connect with Nature Project #2: Rediscover Your Feet

...ing where you let your toes lead your foot and your foot leads your body. I’m going to teach it to you. Fox walking allows you to walk quietly and smoothly though natural settings. It’s primary purpose is stalking animals, because the gait you assume, ideally, does not startle them. Basically, they do not recognize it as human. It also allows you to walk while scanning the environment, instead of worrying about your steps. Since IR...

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Without Merit: poison in your compost

...lid, sold by Dow Chemical under the brand names Merit and Forefront. This herbicide is used to control weeds such as thistle, knapweed and yellow starthistle. The problem is that aminopyralid survives the digestive systems of animals pastured on land sprayed with it, as well as compost piles made from their manure. Most other herbicides break down eventually, but this stuff sticks around. An organic farmer using compost contaminated by aminopyral...

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