Food Preservation Disasters

It’s ain’t 24/7 kittens and rainbows at the Root Simple compound. We do have our homesteading disasters. I was reminded of this after I emptied a box full of failed home preservation projects and contemplated a stinky trash can filled with a slurry of bad pickles and too-loose jams. Of course you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet and, in the interest of learning from mistakes, I thought I’d review two lessons learned....

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Who Wants Seconds? Winner Announced

other would boggle at discussions like this, I suspect. I don’t think she even knew the word vegan. Since we’ve heard from you all, we’ll share our preferences: We eat mostly vegetarian, but will eat meat if it comes from an impeccable source. Preferably we will actually know the farmer. This kind of meat is hard to come by and very expensive, so we eat it rarely–maybe six times a year. Though we eat dairy, we do our best...

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How to Answer the Question, “What Should I Do With My Life?”

Yes, that kitten is Phoebe, back in her blue-eyed days. I headed down to San Diego County earlier this summer to do a talk at Growcology. Bianca Heyming, who runs Growcology along with her husband Nick, told me some advice her dad passed on to her about how to figure out one’s path in life. It’s the best wisdom I’ve ever heard on the subject. Her dad told her, “Look at what books are on your bookshelf and do that.”...

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Top Ten Vegetable Gardening Mistakes

...lot of nutrients. They need lots of compost and a source of nitrogen (fertilizer, manure or a rotation of beans). The difference between our prodigious straw bale garden, which got a lot of blood meal and fish emulsion to get it going, and our obviously depleted front yard raised beds highlights this common error. I  have to do more soil tests and remember to add nutrients (most likely nitrogen) before even thinking about planting veggies. 2. Pla...

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Karp’s Sweet Quince Update

Several years ago I planted a variety of quince called Karp’s Sweet Quince, named after local pomologist and writer David Karp. This variety comes from Peru and is unusual in that it can be eaten fresh. But my quince tree has struggled a bit. The soil it occupies is not the best and it’s been plagued with fungal issues. But I can report that you can, indeed, eat the fruit fresh. The texture was not the best, but the fruit I ate was...

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Filter Fail: How to Cure Internet Addiction

...Everything Happens Now (Rushokoff borrows this idea from the writer Clay Shirky). The problem is not that there’s too much information out there. The problem is that we’ve failed to screen out what is irrelevant. It happens to me everyday and I’m not alone. This year, according to the research firm eMarketer, internet use will surpass TV viewing. The average American will spend five hours and nine minutes online (much of that t...

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Saturday Linkages: Speedos, Blue Eggs and the Rise of Rye

A rancher of the future according to the 1981 children’s book Tomorrow’s Home. Trojan Horses, Recipes, and Permaculture http://www.patternliteracy.com/770-trojan-horses-recipes-and-permaculture … How bad for the environment are gas-powered leaf blowers? http://wapo.st/14bgqIQ  In Pursuit of Tastier Chickens, a Strict Diet of Four-Star Scraps http://nyti.ms/15yN8EY  Rye’s Rise: New Loaves That Are More Than a Vehicle for Pastrami http...

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Getting my Ham Radio License

I often find myself doing a kind of cultural dumpster diving, searching for forgotten activities waiting to be rediscovered. Most of this scavenging takes place at Los Angeles’ massive central library on lower level two, where all the how-to books are shelved.  This month I’m finally acting on something I’ve contemplated for years: getting my amateur radio (i.e. Ham) technician’s license. I’ll be taking the test in...

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