What’s Your Personal Food Policy?

...217;s house. I’m not sure I can still do this. As Michael Pollan says, “Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.” And those walls have become transparent to me. I’ll happily eat meat, but only if I know it was humanely raised or hunted. So, dear Root Simple readers, what’s your personal food pol...

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On Living in Los Angeles Without a Car: A Debate

...me interesting half day classes and lectures since the death of the car, since I couldn’t justify a rental for those occasions. I have no access to the mountains, and that makes me sad. Also, I’m worried about the animals. We have a cat in heart failure. How will we get her to her specialty vets, both of which are in other cities?  What about emergencies? What about all the farm and gardening supplies we have to haul around? It seems...

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Author and Urban Farmer Novella Carpenter Rocks Los Angeles

...ak, make sure to go! We’ve read excerpts from Farm City and Carpenter is a terrific writer. In addition to her books and articles she blogs at ghosttownfarm.wordpress.com and offers workshops on raising and slaughtering animals for meat in the city. And like Carpenter, we also fantasize about trading the bicycle for a mule. Time to print up the “one less bike” saddle stickers . . ....

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Hugo, humanure and nettles

...and fibres like hemp and flax. Nettle cloth is as good as linen cloth. Chopped up, nettles are good for poultry; pounded, they are good for horned cattle. The seed of the nettle, mixed with fodder, gives gloss to the hair of animals; the root, mixed with salt, produces a beautiful yellow coloring-matter. Moreover, it is an excellent hay, which can be cut twice. And what is required for the nettle? A little soil, no care, no culture. Only the see...

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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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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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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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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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