Be Idle

...to be miserable. A kitchen disaster this morning with a terrible granola recipe from Frances Moore Lappé’s book Diet for a Small Planet, reminded us that while the thesis behind that book, that modern agriculture is causing tremendous harm, is more valid than ever, the solution offered by the food activists of the 1970s, namely a bland vegetarian diet is just no fun at all. So in the spirit of the Slow Food movement, SurviveLA would like to...

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Last of the Saddle Tramps

...hange your course, shake up your life–or even have a grand adventure. It’s also refreshing to read a book where the hero is an older woman. Such stories are scarce as hens’ teeth. I won’t say more. Highly recommended. I was lucky enough to find this book at the library. It’s also sold through the publishing arm of the Long Rider’s Guild (I think?), Horse Travel Books, where they keep all sorts of obscure, horse...

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Looking for Chicken Coop Plans

...run–designed by John Zapf. I got a note from Tricia Cornell, who is putting together a chicken coop plan book. There is a real need for this, so if you have a coop, consider sharing your design: Hi! I’m a chicken owner in Minneapolis. I was wondering if you could help me spread the word. I’m looking for smart, good-looking chicken coops to feature in an upcoming book. If you’re proud of your coop, send pictures to ultima...

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Age of Apocalypse

Camping is easy. Returning to civilization is what’s challenging. You spend a weekend camping in a pristine wilderness area, lulled to sleep at night by the sound of a gently flowing river, awakened by bird songs echoing through a deep canyon. But all good things come to an end and the time comes to get back to work, to monitor all those tweets, Facebook updates and text messages. The return to civilization from this we...

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Delicious Cauliflower

...auliflower. Now, everything has changed. I’ve found a recipe for cauliflower which I love. It comes from a book called Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East, by Arto der Haroutunian. I think I’ve mentioned it before. It’s a good, reliable book. Lately I’ve been on a deep Middle Eastern jag, cooking out of this book every day. Erik is in hog heaven, because he hasn’t had to cook in weeks. I’m in heaven because...

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Shoemaking Advice?

...217;m asking for help. Have any of you made your own shoes? I’m looking for good resources on shoe making: books, videos, etc.  I’d also love to hear stories of successes or failures or lessons learned. I’d like to make leather, soft-soled shoes as first project perhaps moccasins, perhaps something more structured. I have two books right now. One is Shoes for Free People, by David & Inger Runk, published in 1976 in Santa Cru...

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Getting started with worms

...rsity of Illinois Extension, is a great resource for both kids and adult who just want the basics. If you want a book on the subject, Worms Eat My Garbage, by Mary Appelhoff. remains the classic resource on aspects of vermicomposting (that is, keeping a worm bin) It’s been in print for a long time, so is easy to find new or used or at the library. Appelhof’s book has everything in it, from plans for building wooden bins, to feeding an...

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Kevin West’s Saving the Season

I’m thinking of throwing out all my picking and preserving books. Why? Kevin West’s new book Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving blows all those other books out of the water bath. Full disclosure here: I’ve tasted a lot of West’s jams. I teach a bread making class at the Institute of Domestic Technology. After my bread demo West does a jam making session a...

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Piet Oudolf’s Enhanced Nature

A garden designer has the difficult task of balancing texture, color, and space while simultaneously dealing with the unpredictability of nature. Long ago I gave up on the idea of ever being good at garden design. But help has come from an unlikely source, Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury’s revolutionary book Planting A New Perspective. High Line Park. Piet Oudolf is probably best known in the US as the...

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Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Dealing With the Crisis of Overconnection

...off national news and letting conversations with friends and relatives fill me in on what’s going on. Read books made out of paper! Even e-book technology can encourage mindless surfing. Reading an old fashioned book can help develop powers of concentration and focus. Use old tools: Powers gives the example of note taking with paper and pen. Sometimes older tools can help reduce distractions–your paper notebook, after all, is not goin...

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