Native Plant Workshop

Vitus californica covering our ugly chain link fence There’s a couple of common misconceptions amongst novice gardeners about native plants: 1. If you use native plants the whole garden has to be natives. In fact, it’s great to mix natives with non-native plants. The natives bring in beneficial wildlife, are hardy and are efficient in terms of water use. Flexibility is key here–go ahead and mix natives with vegetables, fruit...

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Introducing Lora Hall

...e runs a booth with Trisha Mazure every Tuesday from 3 to 8 pm. When we visited her at the market last week Lora had a bunch of interesting plants including purslane, tomatoes, tomatillos as well as a selection of fruit trees appropriate for our warm climate. In the LA area and want some fruit trees for your backyard? Some gardening advice? Contact Lora at [email protected] Lora will be posting as Homegrown Neighbor....

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A Tensegrity Table

Tensegrities are an attractive structure that can be built with rods and string or wire. The term is Buckminster Fuller’s combination of “tension” and “integrity”, though Fuller probably did not invent the concept. Having seen a coffee table that used a tensegrity as a base, I decided to see if I could make a similar table, only out of scavenged materials (scavenging seems appropriate in these crummy economic times!...

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Waking up on New Year’s Day with the world of long crowing roosters

Now I’m not suggesting these guys for urban situations, but New Year’s Day seems an appropriate moment to survey the world of long crowing roosters. According to poultry expert Gail Damerow, writing in the current issue of Backyard Poultry Magazine, long crowers probably have their origins in Japan and have spread throughout the world through deliberate selection. Here’s a play list for your listening pleasure, consisting of a...

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Social Media as a Homesteading Tool

...t from what Facebook friends have posted about their homesteading adventures. Yes, the privacy issues are alarming but, having written two books now, our life is public anyways. I think that it’s healthy to look at new technology critically and to take a break both daily and monthly from all the screen time we seem to accumulate. And I’m not a fan of cell phones, even though I own one. They seem like tracking devices with phone privi...

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There Will Be Kraut–Lecture on Fermentation at the Historic Greystone Mansion

I’ll be delivering a lecture on fermentation as part of a two day fermentation fest put on by the Institute for Domestic Technology. From the description on the IDT website: Let the kraut begin! Healthy, tasty, fermented foods are the new “health foods”. Though ages old, fermented foods are nature’s natural way of food preservation, with an added twist: they’re good for you! See why über chefs of the moment ar...

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How Will You Celebrate the National Day of Unplugging and . . . the Day After?

...cting responsibly, i.e. using the internet productively. The internet is, after all, a fantastic research and connectivity tool. Ahead of the National Day of Unplugging I’d like to hear from readers about how you manage technology in your household–your strategies for disconnecting and connecting responsibly. If I get enough responses I’ll feature them in a follow up post on March 4th....

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The Austrian Scythe is the New Weed Whacker

Scott at the Huntington Gardens gave me a quick lesson on the Austrian Scythe, setting me l oose to whack a stand of summer weeds. The scythe is to the weed whacker what the fixed gear bike is to the ten speed. Or, for you motor heads, it’s what a non-synchronized manual transmission is to an automatic. The scythe is all about technique, not technology and like riding fixed or “ten forward gears and a Georgia overdrive“, itR...

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