Josey Baker Bread: One Bread Book to Rule Them All

...s now through both the Institute of Domestic Technology and the Los Angeles Bread Bakers. When students ask what book they should get I have to hold up half a dozen. Not any more. Now I can send students to just one book: Josey Baker Bread. The appropriately named Josey Baker (who used to work with another baker named Dave Miller–who mills his own flour, naturally) has written a perfect bread baking course in book form. Everything I’v...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

Tame the Email Beast and Have Time To Run Your Urban Homestead

...rders). Like lab rats waiting for a treat to shoot down a slot, we get rewarded via stimulation for for checking it constantly. This is where a suggestion in a book I otherwise strongly dislike1, Timothy Ferris’ The 4-Hour Workweek,  comes in handy. Ferris suggests checking your email twice a day, at 11 AM and 4 PM. Why these two times? He believes that we get our best work done early in the morning and that it’s best to have that mor...

Continue reading…

Who Wants Seconds? Book Giveaway

...g connections at the NSA that would allow me to get my hands on that recipe. Thankfully, with the release of her book Who Wants Seconds? Sociable Suppers for Vegans & Everyone in Between, I don’t have to resort to espionage. The lasagna is on page 142. The book has a wide range of recipes for everything from simple family suppers to big dinner parties both meat dishes and vegan fare. If you’d like to try out some of Jennie’s...

Continue reading…

Bees: Shown to the Children

...in the hive, such as mouse corpses, are actually covered with propolis, not wax, but I’m not going to hold it against the authors. First, I’m not sure if I’m right or not, and at any rate, the idea is the same, and very well described. There’s so much good to say about this book. It’s illustrated with early photos, line drawings, and pretty full color illustrations. In somewhat more than 100 pages it covers bee anato...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…