Grow Italian!

It’s almost time to start planting seeds for the most productive growing season in Southern California – winter. While our friends in the cold parts of the country will be freezing their asses off we’ll be picking gourmet salads (sorry to rub it in). Since the climate here is like southern Italy, we like to plant Italian varieties. Which brings us to the source of many of our seeds at the Homegrown Evolution compound, Seeds fr...

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Essential System #5 – First Aid Kit

...elcome any suggestions for items that should be included. We have copied this list (and added a few things) from the book Mountaineering The Freedom of the Hills. Adhesive bandages – six 1-inch Butterfly bandages – three, in various sizes Sterile gauze pads – four 4-inch b 4-inch Carlisle dressing or sanitary napkin – one 4-inch (note sanitary napkins are much cheaper and make excellent bandages and provide some low-brow h...

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Nasturtium “Capers”

...sturtium is that the entire plant is edible – both the leaves and flowers have a strong peppery flavor and the flowers brighten up the Spartan salads we chow down on in the late spring. Once you plant this stuff, at least here in Los Angeles, the thousands of seeds it produces guarantee that you will see it again next year. Thanks to a tip from our frère et soeur at Terre Vivante, editors of a great book called Keeping Food Fresh, we now ha...

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Why We Travel By Train

Amtrak ain’t this grand, but it’s a lot better than flying! Photo via the Library of Congress. We’re headed up to Northern California, Oregon and Washington to promote our new book Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World . And, with the exception of the San Francisco to Seattle leg, we’re traveling by train. Why do this when it’s more expensive, time consuming and probably makes our dear publis...

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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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Eating In: The Biosphere Cookbook

...ng what went wrong and why the Biosphere project became fodder for a Pauly Shore movie, I’d just point out the hubris of thinking that you can simulate mother nature in her infinite complexity.  Watch episode 2 of Adam Curtis’ All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace for more on that problem. Philosophical quibbles aside, what’s interesting about this cookbook is that ambitious suburban homesteaders might be able to, like th...

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Picture Sundays: Hyperbolic Crochet

...nes”, crenelated “sea slugs”, and curlicued “corals” have all been modeled with these methods. The basic process for making these forms is a simple pattern or algorithm, which on its own produces a mathematically pure shape, but by varying or mutating this algorithm, endless variations and permutations of shape and form can be produced. And, yes, they have a how-to book if you’d like to try this on yo...

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The Good Stuff at Dwell on Design

...of purely theoretical CAD renderings that a lot of architects churn out, some designers are actually getting off their duff and building things. Design Like You Give a Damn [2]: Building Change from the Ground Up catalogs efforts by a non-profit, Architecture for Humanity, to “bring design, construction and development services where they are most critically needed.” There’s some really nice projects documented in this book whi...

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Homemade Cat Toys

...#8217;t waste your money on cat toys. Cats are fickle, ungrateful little creatures. Novelty is more important to them than just about anything else. And I don’t mean genuine novelty–they don’t need newer and stranger toys all the time. Rather, individual toys seem to get stale for them. A fresh paper bag is thrilling, but by the end of the day it’s old news. However, if you put another paper bag down, even the exact same k...

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My Trip to Maker Faire

...werPoint and had to speak extemporaneously. This worked out for the better, as I was able to pull up a member of the audience to demonstrate her solar cooker–much more fun than showing pictures of solar cookers. And, after all, maybe it’s time we retire PowerPoint. Some of the things I spotted at Maker Faire: Long lines for the tiny house. I’ll review Lloyd Kahn’s awesome tiny house book later this week (he gave a talk j...

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