Build a Worm Tower

...particular technology makes a lot of sense for hot, dry climates (note the video comes from Australia), because it’s sunken and it allows the worms to distribute themselves in the cool soil during the day. Conversely, I can imagine this wouldn’t be such a great thing in rainy climates as it could easily flood. Nancy told us the worm holes clog up, so you do have to remove the pipe for cleaning fairly regularly, and perhaps take that...

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Build a Washing Machine Greywater Surge Tank

...fifty gallon drum. Temporarily draining your washing machine into a fifty gallon drum has two advantages. First, it allows hot water to cool and secondly it prevents siphoning mishaps and washing machine pump burnouts that can happen if you try to move the water directly to your garden through a pipe. Here’s how to create a surge tank: 1. Get ahold of a fifty gallon plastic drum. Most big cities, Los Angeles included, have businesses that r...

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Build a Ghetto Solar Cooker

..., the Dwell of the Ted Kaczynski set. We just substituted an old cooler for the cardboard boxes, and we finished it off by using one of Los Angeles’ ubiquitous abandoned car tires as a cradle to keep the cooker oriented towards the sun. It ain’t pretty but it works. In our first test we reached 160º inside the oven, but we think we can do better with some refinements such as finding a black pot with a lid. Yesterday we cooked up a som...

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December Homegrown Evolution Events

Bread Making If you’re in the Southern California area, come on down to Good Magazine’s splashy digs for a bread making demo we’ll be doing on Monday December 15th at 12:30 p.m. We’ll be showing how to bake our favorite wild yeast bread (in our book and on our website here). Come at 11:30 a.m. and catch our organic gardening pals at Silver Lake Farms do a talk on winter vegetable crops. Stick around for puppets! Good Mag...

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Passport to Survival

...cked up on Amazon. There’s a more recent edition written by two of her daughters, but I haven’t seen it. Should you be inspired to try your hand at wheat gluten cookin’, here’s some step by step instructions on making your own seitan from scratch on the Forkable blog. Update 1/15/2010: I was just thumbing through my copy of the 1980 edition of the Whole Earth Catalog, and found a page devoted to Mormon survival manuals inc...

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Revised and Expanded

A revised and expanded version of our book, The Urban Homestead is now available everywhere books are sold and via this website. And we have a new cover thanks to our fantastic publisher Process Media. No longer does the woman stand behind the man! As for the “expanded” part, new projects include:• How to sterilize jars and bottles• How to make infused oil• Six ways to preserve a tomato• How to make soda bread• How to store grain w...

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The Skunk Whisperer

...through the house. Here’s what my skunk trap-out looks like–excuse the bad picture and remember that it’s not a trap as the exit end is always open: I cut a board to fit around the trap-out and nailed it to the corners of the crawl space opening. The next step is to get a cartoon of myself and I’ll be making the big money. Here’s the Skunk Whisperer removing the Pepsi machine raccoons. As he put it, “They’...

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Mud for the People! Building an Adobe Garden Wall

...and/clay mixtures drying in the sun. You can also make a brick out of whatever soil you have on hand and see how it holds up. The first test Kurt did was drop one on a corner from about waist high. It didn’t break and thus passed the test. Another test is standing on a brick. Even though the brick we used weren’t really finished drying, they still passed. For a building that will be inspected you will probably have to send bricks to...

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A Taste of Honey – Story from the BBC

Gentle readers, Mrs. Homegrown here. When we renamed our blog Root Simple we were making a commitment to build a better blog. We don’t have the change all mapped out yet–we’re letting it evolve organically (how else?) but one thing we’ve known for a long time, and that is that we wanted to partner with Eric Thomason and Julia Posey from Ramshackle Solid. We’ve long admired their aesthetics, the grace with which they...

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