Shoemaking Advice?

...oft-soled shoes as first project perhaps moccasins, perhaps something more structured. I have two books right now. One is Shoes for Free People, by David & Inger Runk, published in 1976 in Santa Cruz. As you might expect, it is highly groovy. And as you also might expect, the text is hand lettered and the illustrations are crude line drawings. (Children, this was the way of things in the 70′s.  In defiance of Gutenberg’s advances,...

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Contest Winners!

An excuse for another kitten photograph It’s the release day for Making It , and we’re celebrating by giving away two copies of the book. First, we want to say again how much we enjoyed reading all of your tips. They are excellent, without exception, and should be compiled into a book or something. We’re pondering on some way to highlight that post so that future readers can find the tips. Second, we’re glad we d...

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Kevin West’s Saving the Season

217;s jams. I teach a bread making class at the Institute of Domestic Technology. After my bread demo West does a jam making session and I stick around to watch and, hopefully, filtch an extra jar. Those West jams are coveted items around the Root Simple household. What makes Saving the Season different from other preserving books is West’s masterful use of aromatics and alcohols. As he explains in the introduction, “My goal is for th...

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Slaughtering Turkeys for Thanksgiving

A noble Royal Palm tom. This photo by Kevin Saff. The rest are ours. This post is not for everyone, so we’ve concealed most of it behind the jump. This week we helped our friend, Steve, slaughter and dress four turkeys for Thanksgiving. There will be pictures, so those of you who are interested can get some idea of what the process involves. Steve is an especially conscious carnivore, because he raises and slaughters all the m...

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Eco Blogging, Tin Foil Hats and Convention Mania

...actually quite good. They had a bunch of great speakers and interesting exhibitors. Unfortunately, when I went to review my notes the next day I realized I had written down only the wacky stuff in the form of a diary. I chalk it up to the way my cynical Gen-X brain works. So, in the end, I guess I’m the one wearing the tin-foil hat. For what it’s worth, here’s what that diary contained: 10:15 AM Way overdue for a haircut I thro...

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The Big To-Do List

iece of taped together paper to come up with our version of Heinlein’s skill set. Most of the subjects on that paper, everything from vegetable gardening to cargo bikes, ended up in the book or in our second book Making It. Now, we don’t expect everyone to master all the things in our books, but it doesn’t hurt to have a cursory knowledge of, say, greywater plumbing or compost pile construction, even if you live in a Manhattan a...

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Salvia Means Salvation: White Sage

a, we’wey (waykway) in Chumash. The most fragrant and beautiful of all Salvias. Flower of Salvia apiana, photo by Stan Shebs White sage is a native Californian plant which is grown in many places, as long as it can grown in dry conditions (overwatering will kill it quick) and the winter temps aren’t too cold. See Plants for a Future Database for details. It has beautiful soft silvery foliage and white to pale purple flower...

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Hay Boxes or Fireless Cookers

Illustration from The Fireless Cook Book Mrs. Homegrown here: Jessica from Holland sent us a letter recently praising our work, but very, very gently scolding us not including the hay box, a groovy old energy saving technology, in our book. We do stand corrected! And her enthusiasm for hay boxes has reignited our interest, too. We actually considered hay boxes for Making It, but didn’t end up building one for a variety of reasons...

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Book Review: A Feast of Weeds by Luigi Ballerini

The evening a review copy of A Feast of Weeds: A Literary Guide to Foraging and Cooking Wild Edible Plants came in I couldn’t put it down. I chased Kelly and our guest Nancy Klehm around the house to read excerpts: on the obscene etymology of the Italian word for the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo), on the history of Mallow (Malva parviflora). And who knew that Italians eat red poppy leaves? Ballerini is a professor of Italian at the Univ...

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Giveaway: The New Sunset Western Garden Book

We’ve got five copies of the The New Sunset Western Garden Book to give away to lucky readers. All you have to do is leave a comment here telling us where you live (not your address, but your city or region) and name your favorite tomato variety. This way we’ll build a list of the best tomatoes to help everyone with their summer selections. Tuesday, March 6th we’ll announce the five winners here by the name they leave in the c...

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