Sourdough Pancake Recipe

Yes, that’s a real children’s book from the 1970s. A question came in as to what to do with extra sourdough starter. First off, check out the new way we feed our starter, which wastes a lot less flour. But another answer is to use all that tangy delicious starter to make pancakes. For years we’ve used Nancy Silverton’s recipe. Basically, the starter fills in for the flour and milk used in standard panca...

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Notes on Mark Bittman’s “Behind the Scenes of What We Eat”

...he U.S. only 1 meal in 4 includes an unprocessed vegetable. And that number is actually 1 in 5, because the 1 in 4 number comes about from counting burger toppings as vegetables. Then think about this– our friends at The Ecology Center just gave us a a booklet on water conservation. In there they recommend you eat one vegetarian meal a week in order to save 450 gallons of water a week. They estimate that it costs about 650 gallons of water...

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How to Bake a Traditional German Rye Bread

...many fault lines as the state of California. And this is a bread that requires no kneading so you can easily fit it into a busy schedule. Here’s how I make it (recipe based on Hadjiandreou’s caraway rye sourdough): 350 grams dark rye flour 150 grams white bread flour 10 grams sea salt 1 teaspoon caraway seeds 250 grams rye sourdough starter (see step one) 400 grams warm water 1. The night before I want to bake I take a tablespoon of r...

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Why You Should Avoid Staking Trees

...ice or to the nearly 2000 year old words of Seneca: No tree becomes rooted and sturdy unless many a wind assails it. For by its very tossing it tightens its grip and plants its roots more securely; the fragile trees are those that have grown in a sunny valley. It is, therefore, to the advantage even if good men, to the end that they may be unafraid, to live constantly amidst alarms and to bear with patience the happenings which are ills to him on...

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Feral House and Process Media Winter Soltice Party

Feral House and Process media, the publishers of our first book The Urban Homestead, will be holding their annual solstice party on Saturday December 8th from 7 to 10 pm at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, located within the Wacko gift store. Judging from the flyer, naked Shriners will frolic in the Griffith Park Fountain later on in the evening. Whatever happens, it’s a fun event not to be missed. Kelly and I will be there to...

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Filter Fail: How to Cure Internet Addiction

...ation overload,” but I prefer the phrase “filter fail” that Douglas Rushkoff introduces in his book Present Shock: When 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...

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Karp’s Sweet Quince Update

...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 damaged and immature so it was not exactly a fair sample. Quince is not the...

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001 Transplants vs. Seedlings, Josey Baker Bread, Gluten Intolerance and Rats in the Compost

As they say in Silicon Valley, if you’re first release is perfect you’re too late. With that in mind, I’m finally putting up the first (after a few false starts) Root Simple audio podcast. Right now the format is Kelly and I recapping recent blog posts and going into greater detail. Plus we answer some long overdue reader questions. When we get more comfortable with podcasting we’ll start having gues...

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Cactus Thief Strikes Again

...man who steals them . . . our losses and our pains have to do only with the things we posses.” (Discourses Book 1.18) And wanting to posses a Home Depot cactus is quite pathetic. It reminds me of something a friend told me, “Never drive by and look at a garden in a house you once owned.” Our gardens are impermanent. That impermanence is actually something that makes gardening interesting. My wandering cacti might even have a mor...

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Loquat season is here!

...ossy leaves that remind me of citrus leaves and magnolia leaves and avocado leaves all at the same time, meaning it’s vaguely tropical looking. They don’t seem to require much water or pruning–so they do well under benign neglect, though I’d suspect the fruit is best on trees which are not completely ignored.  This is the time of year when the fruit comes ripe, and it’s always kind of an exciting time because the loq...

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