Trading our Home for a Dome

Last week a local blog posted a real estate listing for an unusual dome house not far from where we live. There’s a few of these 70s-80s relics in the LA area. This one is worth about as much as our house. I pondered, for about ten minutes, the thought of trading out our stodgy 1920s bungalow for a geodesic fantasy. Geodesic domes are an example of Plato’s realm of ideal forms attempting to materialize in our messy world. While con...

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How Can We Fix Our Public Landscaping?

Yesterday Kelly blogged about the appalling landscaping in front of an Los Angeles Department of Water and Power facility. When Kelly first showed me the photo of that purple gravel and artificial turf I thought it might be some kind of conceptual art project. Unfortunately, this poor attempt at a drought tolerant landscape is just another example of an attitude of indifference towards public space that’s all too prevalent in Los Angeles...

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Can our landscapes model a vibrant future? Not according to the LA DWP.

California is suffering from drought. In Los Angeles, we’ve experienced back to back two of the driest winters on record (winter is our rainy season). Last year’s rainfall total was under 6 inches. The governor has asked California residents to cut their water use by 20%.  Apparently, we’ve only managed to cut it by 5%. There’s a strange sense of unreality about the drought. I think that’s because we’re just...

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How to Answer the Question, “What Should I Do With My Life?”

...wish someone had told me this years ago–I could have skipped music grad school (music has never occupied much space on my book shelf). Instead I could have jumped ahead to what I’m doing now. Unsurprisingly, most of the books on my bookshelf, now and in the past, are how-to tomes relating to the subjects on this blog: gardening, poultry health, beekeeping, food preservation, baking, cooking and self-reliance. There’s another br...

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Self-Righteousness Fail: We Bought a Car

At least we got something interesting to drive. Image: Paleofuture. Back in March, a video producer who was texting-while-driving slammed into me and totaled the early 90′s hatchback that Kelly and I shared. We went from a one car household to a car-free household overnight. A combination of environmental guilt and distaste for car shopping led us to a six month car free living experiment in Los Angeles. That period ended in late September...

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Defining a Garden’s Purpose

...involve sitting in a sterile hotel conference room. Instead, we boarded two buses and took a look at fifteen spectacular gardens in the bay area over three days. I’ll share the gardening lessons I learned over a couple of posts. But if I could take away only one lesson it would be this: every garden has a purpose, but great gardens have clear and beneficial purposes. Dead Grass and Junk The unintentional garden tour on Amtrak’s San J...

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Saturday Linkages: DIY Coffee Tables, Ride Shares and Hot to Grill

Coffee table made with pallet: http://www.recyclart.org/2013/06/coffee-table-made-with-pallet/ … Sorry Uber, Los Angeles Has Been Banning Ride-Shares For a Century http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/sorry-uber-los-angeles-has-been-banning-ride-shares-fo-574851806 … Metro threatens Phantom Planter with arrest if he tends his DuPont Circle station flowers http://wapo.st/14pF8Ts The Three Zone Fire: How to Grill Perfect Meat | The Art of Manliness htt...

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Picture Sundays: Do You Believe In Magic?

I really like this mural that just appeared in our neighborhood near the corner of Sunset and Coronado. Bunnies tumble out of a magic hat and there’s a silhouette of a coyote and crow (common urban wildlife here). The text, “do you beleav [sic] in magic” brought a smile to my face as I waited for the bus. My day had been re-enchanted by this symbolic bit of street art....

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Stoicism as a Toolkit for Modern Life

Lucius Annaeus Seneca ca. 4 BC – AD 65. This is the first in a series of posts focusing on positive techniques for keeping our heads screwed on straight in troubled times. Growing food, doing stuff with your hands, drinking homebrew with friends–all these kinds of things help keep us grounded and hopeful. But sometimes you need a little more help. Maybe we’ll call these posts “When chickens aren’t enough.” Whether t...

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An Overdue Update on Phoebe

This is her cute face. Her surprised by the camera face. Her usual expression is more calculating. Even frightening. I realized that it’s been a long time since we updated you all on how our cat Phoebe is doing–well over a year, actually. And at that time, we told you we didn’t expect her to live more than 9 more months. Surprise! She’s been doing really well. (For those of you new to the blog, Phoebe has a malformed hear...

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