The Most Beautiful Shed in the World

Located in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, this writer’s shed designed by Erin Moore has some mighty fine details. According to a blog post on Float Architectural Research and Design, The writing studio is designed to reveal the ecological complexity of the site to visitors and in this way it is successful: Small tunnels under the studio bring rare reptiles and amphibians into view through the floor-level window. The water collection bas...

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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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Radical Beekeeper Michael Thiele Ventures Into New Territory

Thiele with an unorthodox hive–picture from his website Gaia Bees. One of the lectures I went to at the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa earlier this month has really stuck with me. It was a talk by radical biodynamic beekeeper Michael Thiele that, frankly, I walked into biased against. But by the conclusion I could tell that the whole audience, including myself, left deeply moved by what Thiele had to say. The reason fo...

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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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Animal Tracking

A track trap we laid to capture chipmunk tracks. We got some mice, too. No one wanted our peanuts–the chipmunk actually hopped over them. These critters had an advanced palette, preferring locally sourced pine nuts from the pinon pines. Photo courtesy of one of my classmates, Kurt Thompson.  Mrs. Homegrown here: I just returned from an amazing five-day sojourn in the mountains, at the Windy Springs Preserve, in which I learned the...

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Obligatory Cute Chick Post

Look, it’s just that time of year. We have to live with it. We have no chicks this year. Our ladies are not maternal, they have no male companionship, and we’ve made no chick missions to the feedstore. These pics are from our neighbors’ house. Anne and Bill have a menagerie of ridiculously cute small animals. You recall the pea eating Chihuahua? Among their collection are a pair broody little Silkies, who are old-timers on the...

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Book Review: My Side of the Mountain

Illustration from the book: Sam Gribley and his falcon, Frightful. And his homemade shirt with extra large pockets. Naturalist and author Jean Craigshead George wrote My Side of the Mountain –the story of a boy from New York City who runs away to live on his own in the Catskill Mountains–in 1959.  Since then, it has won the Newbery Medal and been consistently ranked high in recommended reading lists for ch...

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Essential System #7 – Repair Kit and Tools

We were going to use this category to wax poetic about the early 90s Leatherman multi-tool that we wear on our belts at all times but, hold the blog press here, self-sufficiency geniuses Stephen Box and Enci gifted us with a category-busting set of tools that, get this, fit within a tiny 30g (1.5 oz) Altoid tin! Believe it or not this pocket size Altoid tin contains the following items: 1 inner tube piece – a section of a bicycle tire tha...

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Rats

SurviveLA just sustained $198 worth of damage to one of our appliances due to an invasion of rats which brings us to the topic of how we deal with pesky rodents. As you can see in the photo to the right, the answer will burn our bridges with the PETA folks. The classic rat trap is one of those inventions like the bicycle that is elegant, simple, cheap and effective. We recommend placing the business end of the trap (the part with the food) again...

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Country Wisdom

Thanks to a tip from the Soapboxers, SurviveLA augmented our homesteading library with a copy of the extremely useful book, Country Wisdom & Know-How by the editors of Storey Books. Country Wisdom is a compendium of tips culled from the Country Wisdom Bulletin published in the 1970s and oriented to the “back to the land” movement of that time. While geared to country living there is plenty in here for city dwellers such as ourse...

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