Cleaning the Sink with Baking Soda and Lemons

...th table salt or Borax, or a combo of baking soda and salt or Borax.  Borax is a laundry additive, and sold in the laundry aisle. It isn’t as safe a baking soda. It will dry out your skin if you use it with bare hands, and you definitely don’t want to snort the stuff or feed it to your pets and babies, but it’s not bad for the water supply. I harshed on it a bit in our first book, but have softened my opinion about it of late....

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My Sooper Seekrit Compost Pile

Welcome to the Lucy and Ricky show! As some of you know, Erik is a complete and utter compost wonk. A heavy book about the science of decomposition is pleasure reading for him. He has a really, really big thermometer and knows how to use it. We’ve kept a compost pile for years and years, but only in the last two years has it become an obsession for him. One of his more recent projects has been to make an gigantic bin in our back yard. Thi...

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I drank a bottle of MiricleGro and then got on my riding lawn mower

We’re deep in the middle of the deadline for our next book, coming out in November–more on that soon! Today some links: Solar hot air collector made out of soda cans. Built-It-Solar Blog. From the two steps forward and three steps back department. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attends a groundbreaking ceremony for a school garden. So far, so good. But it’s sponsored by Scott’s MiracleGro who chipped in some do...

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UMass Soil Testing

I finally got around to trying out the University of Massachusetts’ soil testing service and can report that it’s fast and cheap. I tested two areas of my yard for both nutrients and heavy metals and found out, more or less, what I expected, that I need to add a small amount of nitrogen. Surprisingly, for having such an old house, I don’t have a lead problem. It costs just $9 for the basic test and $13 for the basic test + hea...

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Build a Washing Machine Greywater Surge Tank

After the shower, the next best source for greywater is the washing machine. Constructing what is called a surge tank with a fifty gallon plastic drum is the simplest way to reuse your washing machine waste water. Perfectly good water that would ordinarily just go down the sewer will instead water your plants after first spending a short time in the fifty gallon drum. Temporarily draining your washing machine into a fifty gallon drum has two adv...

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More Washing Machine Greywater Fun

...oving a flexible hose around and lift that hose above the level of the machine. 7. Rig up a bypass to somewhere the water can flow if you live in a place where it freezes. This is not a problem for us in sunny LA. 8. Since the water is under pressure it’s possible to rig up fancy distribution systems in the garden. For ideas on this see Ludwig’s book, Create an Oasis with Greywater. 9. Lastly, a note to our rentin’ homesteade...

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Free Introduction to Permaculture

...xpert David Khan will be presenting an introduction to permaculture on Saturday January 20th 2007 at 10:00 am at the Audubon Center at Debs Park: 4700 North Griffin Ave.Los Angeles, CA 90031 After the lecture author Shay Salomon and photographer Nigel Valdez will do a slide show and talk about their book Little House on a Small Planet. SurviveLA attended Khan’s introductory lecture last month and found it thought provoking and informative....

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Make an Aluminum Can Lamp

...do this by scoring the inner ring of the top with a razor blade and then using a pair of pliers to bust it out. The fastidious and safety conscious may want to file down the sharp edge. 2. Cut a 2 1/2 inch square window out of one side of the can with a pair of scissors. 3. Now cut the bottom 1 1/2 inches off of another can. We like to do this by taping a razor blade to a piece of metal and inserting it in a book. Simply rotate the can against...

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Pee on your Compost

...best left to hippies, so if you try this at least cease application at a respectable interval before harvesting. There is even a book called Liquid Gold on the subject of pee as fertilizer and the ever more resourceful Europeans have developed a number of urine diverting flush toilets similar to the one we profiled earlier to take the labor out of urine saving. Perhaps the most convenient way to use urine is to simply pee on your compost pile. Th...

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Post Petroleum Lecture

...xt one! From Khan’s announcement: Albert Bates is a permaculture and appropriate technology instructor at the Eco village Training Center at The Farm community in Summertown, Tennessee, inventor of solar cars, pedal flour sifters and cylindrical tofu presses, and author of eleven books, including Shutdown: Nuclear Power on Trial (1979) and Climate in Crisis: The Greenhouse Effect and What We Can Do (1990). His Post-Petroleum Survival Guide...

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