Picture Sundays: Your Livestock Can Survive Fallout from Nuclear Attack

The US Department of Agriculture published this handy pamplett circa 1962. The USDA’s main recommendation? Get yourself a “two-story, basement-type barn with a hay-filled loft,  to “reduce radiation exposure [to your animals by] as much as 80 percent.” Thanks to the interwebs you can download your own copy here. And, something for the kids. There’s a film version–featuring marionettes!...

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Thoughts on Samhain

...July–they’re my favorite holidays.) So I save Oct. 31st for trick o’ treaters and parties and celebrate Samhain on the 1st, quietly, with a just a few simple gestures. I don’t plan on slaughtering any animals (Did I just hear our chickens breath a sigh of relief?) so I clean the house instead, and attack one drawer or closet, and shed things I don’t need anymore, both as sort of a psychological purge and in preparat...

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Weekend Movie Recommendation: Buck

...’s techniques embody a stoic calm and sensitivity born out of a miserable childhood. As a survivor of abuse, he’s very in tune with the nature and effects of fear. He teaches that the relationship we have with our animals is much more about our own baggage than what’s going on with the animal. As he puts it, “Your horse is a mirror to your soul, and sometimes you may not like what you see. Sometimes, you will.” This...

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Another item for the plastic haters file

Photo: TWRA. More at link. As if the specter of hapless marine animals ensnared in six-pack rings wasn’t enough, here comes a story out of Tennessee about a bear who spent three weeks with his head stuck in a big plastic jar. (Perhaps one of those things that holds several gallons of Cheetos?) They cut it off him, re-hydrated and released him. This is being presented as an happy ending story. And true–it’s a miracle th...

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Animal Tracking

...this class we used two methods: one was to drag a big, flat sack full of dirt (for weight) across stretches of open ground to smooth and compress the soil. When made in the evening, these clear spaces catch the prints of any animals that come through overnight or in the early morning. The results the next day were often spectacular–a clean, written record of the night’s activities. You may have seen this type of trap occur naturally...

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Deadly Nightshade vs. Black Nightshade

...at deal of superstition when it comes to toxicity. Remember that many Europeans considered tomatoes to be poisonous well into the 18th century. Even today tomato leaves, used by my Filipino neighbors as a seasoning, are still labeled by many as poisonous. An interesting article in the New York Times “Accused, Yes, but Probably Not a Killer” busts the tomato leaf toxicity myth. Atropa belladonna – don’t munch on this...

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Peat-free Planting Mix Recipe With Coconut Coir

Nancy’s coconut coir-based planting mix. Here she’s doing the squeeze test, which we talk about below. From an environmental perspective peat moss is a nightmare. Mining of this material is unsustainable, contributes to global warming and destroys habitat for many plants and animals. But, for starting seeds, we’ve used it for years. Our friend Nancy Klehm taught us recently how to make a seed starting mix with coconut...

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Radical Beekeeper Michael Thiele Ventures Into New Territory

...ither side. Thiele believes that we should look at what feral colonies prefer rather than keep them in Langstroth hive boxes. Intuitive communication is just as important when approaching bees as it is when working with other animals. But bees are different. Thiele said that bees don’t “have a face like a cat or dog,” thus our communication with the bien comes from, as Thiele put it, “a different place.” The hive is...

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Saturday Linkages: How to Wrap a Sari, Scotts Behaves Badly and America’s Finest Bathrooms

  DIY Tea House in Santa Cruz Built of Recycled Wood http:// lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2012/09/tea-ho use-in-santa-cruz-built-of.html#.UEktM61phus.twitter  … Bad Behavior Scotts Miracle-Gro Fined $12.5M For Bird-Killing Pesticides | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innov.. http:// bit.ly/TykEUI   And this article from MNN explains why Scotts poisoned the seed: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/judge-accepts-scotts-mir...

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The Most Beautiful Shed in the World

...mall tunnels under the studio bring rare reptiles and amphibians into view through the floor-level window. The water collection basin that doubles as the front step draws in birds and deer. At midday, the silhouettes of these animals project from the water onto the interior ceiling. Windows on the west and north sides frame different bird habitats—the tops of fence row trees and the patch of sky at a hilltop updraft. The roof diaphragm amplifies...

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