Book Review: What the Robin Knows

...of working on one skill all your life (especially one as unglamorous as robin-watching)  is not a popular notion it contemporary culture, when everything is the “20 Minute This” and the “4 Hour That.”  But I understand the appeal of a lifelong practice myself, and I have the deepest respect of long term practitioners of any art. I just finished the book and spent 40 minutes this morning in the backyard, utterly puzzled.  I...

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Be a question. Be an answer.

...o bring this baby down to earth with a resounding thud. Let’s talk menstruation. We’re writing a new book, as we may have mentioned. It’s a project book focused on making some of the basic necessities of life yourself, whether that be a compost pile, a bar of soap, or a breath mint. It’s almost done (thank mercy), but at this late date I’ve realized one subject we haven’t covered is The Ladies Only Subject. Per...

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Our Holiday Gift Suggestions

...andscaping by Rosalind Creasy Rosalind Creasy just came out with a completely rewritten version of her classic book Edible Landscaping . The book is full of dazzling photos, helpful design suggestions and a long plant list with detailed growing and harvesting directions. I’ve been carefully reviewing this book as we redesign our yard. Especially helpful has been Creasy’s suggestion to draw a plan, to scale, and create lists of desig...

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Book Review: The Urban Bestiary

...cts that arise when our needs clash with theirs. If there is anything controversial to be found in such a lovely book, it will be in this idea, which runs like a thread through the chapters. Haupt shows how common “solutions” to our backyard clashes are short sighted, and don’t even work, and offers alternate suggestions and strategies. You see, if we kill or relocate an animal from our yard, a new one will simply move in to fil...

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Build Your Own Furniture

...raw bale and rammed earth houses. All of these innovative architectural ideas may have great potential, but when it comes time to buy supplies at the lumber yard, the overly creative builder will soon realize the difficulty of utopian designs in a world of 4 by 8 sheets of plywood and drywall. That geodesic shape is hip, but what do you do with the rest of the plywood sheet once you cut it out? The same limitation applies to making furniture. Tha...

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Meet our book & web designer: Roman Jaster

...e a Visiting Designer talk about his work at his alma mater, CalArts and made that lecture public on YouTube. In it, he talks about his childhood in East Germany, the decisions he made early-on which determined his career, his working methods (which are really interesting, combining coding with design) and talks about the concepts behind some of his projects, including Making It. This all may be a little off-topic for the blog, but I’m sure...

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Indigo 101

...era suffruticosa, which is native to Mexico and South America. • You can grow your own indigo (any seeds you buy labeled as Indigo will probably be tictorium or suffructicosa). Indigofera is a pretty plant from the legume family. That family is valuable in the garden because it draws nitrogen into the soil. It would be nice to grow just as a conversation starter. I don’t know much about making the dye from scratch, but it is quite possible...

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Book Review: 1491

...party, because 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus came out in 2006 and was a best seller, so it’s probably not news to many of you that this is a fantastic book. For those of you who haven’t read it, though, this is the type of book that you look up from every few minutes and say, “Listen to this!” or “Did you know…?”  1491 is a depiction of the Americas just before and just after con...

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Sunset Western Garden Book Winners!

...e gave some of you some good ideas for your summer garden. We have five winners of The New Sunset Western Garden Book : Bee Girl from Santa Fe, New Mexico Sara O. from Denver, Colorado Tracey from Fairbanks, Alaska Donna M. from Romona, California PeckyCaw from Portland, Oregon   If that’s you, please send your mailing address to us: [email protected]  We’ll forward your address to the publishers of the book, who will send you...

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Urban Homestead Book Signing and Lecture

We’ll be delivering a lecture and and book-signing on the theme of “Low-tech is the new high-tech” at the Eco-Village Thursday the 26th of June. Here’s the 411: Los Angeles Eco-VillageCRSP Institute for Urban Eco-Villagesand the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalitionpresent THE URBAN HOMESTEADTalk, Slide Show and Book-Signingwith Kelly Coyne and Erik KnutzenThursday June 26th 2008 7:30pmat Los Angeles Eco-Village117 Bimini...

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