The Energy Environment Simulator

...stumbled on the Energy-Environment Simulator. We couldn’t stop laughing and we realized that we had to buy it. How often do you run into an Energy-Environment Simulator in working condition? t’s been the centerpiece of Nik’s living room ever since, even making a cross country move. The device demonstrates energy inputs and demands. Depending on how you turn the knobs, you can either engineer a future of never-ending power or, on...

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California Dreaming

...ages? Solutions? I’ve got some ideas, but after seeing this reprehensible ad from Farmer’s Insurance it’s obvious that there’s a hell of a lot of work to do. It will be hard to counter the status quo without, as James Howard Kunstler puts it, “appearing ridiculous, like an old granny telling you to fetch your raincoat and rubbers because a force five hurricane is organizing itself offshore, beyond the horizon.”...

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TV Turnoff week April 23 – 30, 2008

...such as this – view at your own risk!). At some point we decided to give up the TV cold turkey. For a week it seemed like a close friend had died, but soon all those evenings quickly filled with activities. We learned fencing, print making, bread baking and countless other skills. We never regretted exiling the TV to the garage. Recently the tube’s come back into our lives with a certain DVD mail service, but we feel like we’ve...

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Recipe for the World’s Best Whole Wheat Pancake

...with a sourdough starter. The heirloom grain I used is Sonora wheat, probably the oldest wheat in the Americas. It’s a soft, winter wheat traditionally used for tortillas. Recipe (based on Nancy Silverton’s pancakes) 210 grams starter 2 tablespoons maple syrup 3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil 2 eggs 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder The night before making these pancakes I take a tablespoon o...

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Dave Miller on Baking with 100% Whole Wheat

...ance between elasticity and extensibility. Our job as bakers, Miller suggests, is to understand what gives bread its form and to shape and bake dough at the best possible moment. Much of the weekend was spent analyzing what can go wrong and how to fix it–the causes of over-proofing, under-proofing, bad color etc. If you’re scaling ingredients, noting the temperature and controlling variables as best you can, it’s a matter of ded...

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My Brand New Homebrew Soda Carbonator

...Erik won the good husband award this Valentine’s Day. He surprised me with my very own soda making machine. This is not a SodaStream–it’s better. It’s an industrial strength CO2 tank topped with sturdy dials and valves and whatnot, all sourced from the local homebrew shop. He’s going to do a how-to post soon (tomorrow maybe?) on how to put together the parts, and how to use it. So hold on for those det...

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Made in the shade- Passive cooling

...rs ago and now I don’t need to run the heater nearly as much in the winter. I’m not sure what effect it has on the summer heat, because it still feels pretty darn sweltering in here. Shade is an easy way to keep things cool. Shade can be utilized inside and out. An outdoor seating area begs for shade. This can be achieved with trees and shrubs or vines trained over a trellis. A roof structure of some sort can also provide shade for o...

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Ten Uses for Palm Fronds

...one who was killed by a falling frond) I got an idea that I’m as proud of as my milk crate humanure potty. 5. Celebrate Sukkot. Sukkot is the Jewish feast of the tabernacle. Unfortunately, it seems that our Washingtonia Robusta is not the right kind of palm. 6. Celebrate Palm Sunday. As with Sukkot, it looks like there’s some entrepreneurs on this idea. 7. Make a basket. Here’s a tutorial using coconut fronds, so I’m not s...

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On the Back Porch of America

...eaders of this blog will love. Small Medium Large’s series, The Back Porch of America, is like the Foxfire books come to life. You can watch a couple of episodes here. This is what television would look like if we dispensed with false reality show drama and treated subjects with respect. Four more episodes will come out later this year. Small Medium Large also did a piece on Root Simple pal Doug Tiano. Doug’s been making a whole ar...

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From the Archives: Loquat Leather

...recipe. You’ve still got to de-seed the damn things but at least there’s no need to skin them. Plus it makes use of booze. I’ll admit it’s not a thrilling fruit leather but it’s not too bad. Mrs. Homegrown chimes in: My philosophy is simply that if one is going to go through the trouble of making fruit leather, preserves, pies etc., one should use outstanding fruit. The flavor tells in the end. After all, the starv...

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