How to Make a Native Bee Nesting Box

...I put this one together with some small pieces of bamboo that I found in a neighbor’s trash can: I think there’s a great potential to create works of public art that double as insect nests. For a nice example of this idea see the “insect hotel” designed by by Arup Associates. For general guidelines on how to build nesting boxes see this guide from the Xerces Society.  We also have a project for a native bee box in our b...

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How To Dry Food With the Sun

...Earth News has plans for a Appalachian style dehydrator made from cardboard boxes. As long as you keep it out of the rain, this dehydrator should work just fine, and is a lot easier to make than the plywood version. I’ve never built one of these, but am interested in hearing from anyone who has. Eben Fodor Solar Food Dryer Photo from Simply Resourceful This design is by Eben Fordor, and is described in a book by Fodor called  The S...

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Some Thoughts on Mead

...ecent mead you have to brew it yourself. We tasted a lot of homebrew meads along with commercial meads.  Many of the homebrew meads were excellent. All of the commercial meads tasted like camping fuel. I was, frankly, surprised that anyone would go to the trouble of labeling, distributing and selling some of the awful store bought meads we tasted. I tried yet another horrible commercial mead at the natural foods convention I blogged about on Mond...

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Vital Farms: Pasture Raised, Organic Eggs at Whole Foods

Image from the Vital Farms blog. Over the weekend I attended the Natural Products Expo West, a massive health food industry convention. Yes, indeed, Fabio was in attendance selling some sort of powdered supplement and I may have seen Ziggy Marley packing up his own bottles of “Coco’Mon” coconut oil. Such are the indignities one encounters on the downward arc of a career in reggae music or romance book cover modeling. O...

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Easy to Make & Delicious Fermented Veggies

Inspiration hit at Camp Ramshackle and I finally made fermented vegetables. I loosely followed the Golden recipe from The Versatile Vegetable by Miranda Barrett and Colleen Pollard with cabbage, golden beets, carrots, celery, ginger, lemon and garlic. I omitted the Granny Smith apple because every person/book I consulted said use only the freshest apples and my stash had been sitting for quite some time. I made a stop at Culture Club in Pasad...

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Bee Hotel

From an old beekeeping book (thanks Steve!),  How to Keep Bees and Sell Honey: This is probably the finest bee hive in the world. It was built by E. S. Williams, St. Petersburg, Florida, who spent 6 months constructing it. It holds two standard 10 frame hive bodies and a bottom board. The second story lifts off for hive manipulations. It is wired for 110 volt current, has window shades and curtains. The front plastic doors swing easily and fit...

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Growing Artichokes on the Sly

...eedwack, and covered with fat artichokes. It’s also such a magnificent plant that it looks like it belongs there. She’s harvested over forty chokes so far–that’s a lot of good eating! We realize artichokes don’t grow everywhere, but investigate perennial food-bearing plants that grow well in your area. Check out the book Perennial Vegetables for inspiration. Herbs, like chives, are an easy place to start. Alternativ...

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How Not To Bake Bread

...a pancake. But I think I cooked it too long. Again, I cracked it open, ate the soft inside of the bread and gave the rest to the chickens. I tend to be a very experimental cook. I like to learn from my failures. Often things taste good but aren’t pretty, but after a few tries I can make them taste and look good. But not bread. It defies all of my time tested methods of how I teach myself to do things. I’ve been reading books on baking...

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Meet us this weekend in the Bay Area

This Friday, April 29, we’ll be talking and signing at Book Passage in Corte Madera: 7:00 PM Saturday, April 30th, we’re gathering for a forage at Sutro Heights Park, San Francisco. It’s supposed to be a pretty day. Bring drinks, and we’ll gather a salad to share. Feel free to bring more food, your guide books, gathering implements, things to sit upon, and most especially, any local knowledge you have. Very casual. Meet...

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