Harvesting and Drying Calendula

...rd are older than that. I think some herbs keep their properties longer than others, but in general you should try to use them in a year or so. Like spices, the are best fresh, but usable, if not as potent, as they age.  Label and date all your herbs. Even if you think you’ll never forget, somehow or another you will, and at some future find yourself standing at your cupboard, holding a jar full of strange plant matter and saying to yo...

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Advances in Gardening Series: A Progress Report

...In the dead center is what I call The Hippie Heart (and yes, that’s tm’d too.). I’ll come back to the heart: I like the view better from the other direction. In the center foreground you can see twig with a label tied to it. That’s one of our brand new fruit trees.: This below is a pretty uninspired picture of The Hippie Heart, a raised bed which is about 5 feet across, made by simply digging up and mounding earth–...

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Saturday Linkages: DIY Coffee Tables, Ride Shares and Hot to Grill

...lowers http://wapo.st/14pF8Ts The Three Zone Fire: How to Grill Perfect Meat | The Art of Manliness http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/06/26/summer-grilling-week-the-3-zone-fire-video/ … Protect power cords from cable-gnawing cats: http://boingboing.net/2013/06/26/protect-power-cords-from-cable.html … For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter: Follow @rootsimple...

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We heal together

...17;t. There’s more to say, though I don’t quite know how to say it yet. I suspect it will come out in the weeks and months to come, mixed in with our more usual practical DIY postings, garden rants and pictures of cats. Right now I can say was enormously touched by the things you all shared. I did not answer the comments individually. I didn’t want to turn the conversation in any particular direction–I wanted to leave the...

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Chairs, are they killing us?

Even American cats sit in chairs. The knee injuries I’ve accumulated running, hiking and fencing have a lot to do with basic flexibility problems. Mrs. Root Simple likens my inflexibility to that of a ginger bread man. So should I plant my stiff derriere on the nearest yoga mat? Or should I throw out all our furniture? I’m thinking the latter. Let me explain. Photo from Max in Kabul I’m willing to bet that tra...

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Chicken Cannibalism!

...cannibalism results from insufficient opportunity to forage. Simply letting our flock out of their run to free-range throughout the backyard seems to have taken care of the problem. Sure we may lose a hen or two to hawks and cats, but that seems a better fate than being eaten alive by one of your own kind. We’ve also switched to a higher protein feed to see if that will help as there is a minority opinion in poultry farming that chickens r...

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How Much Can You Carry on a Bicycle?

...st blogger, but you pick your battles), 12 cans of sparkling water, a jumbo box of kitchen trash bags and a few other items. Here’s another grocery store trip. And the haul being inspected for self righteousness by the cats: The Xtracycle easily accommodates four heavy grocery bags. If you bring some bungee cords, you can carry even more (cat litter!). I can load up a full grocery cart and transport home just as many items as we used to i...

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Chickens and Compost; A Match Made in Heaven

...nates, figs, peaches, even oranges. The chickens make contributions to the compost with their poop, of course, but the real fun is when you turn it. Chickens are very curious- I’d say they are much more curious than my cats, who have disappointingly little interest in compost. I have to be careful where I plunge the pitchfork into the compost pile because the bird brained Peckerella (pictured) likes to be right in the middle of things. The...

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One Secret for Delicious Soup–A Parmesan Cheese Rind

Our cats seem to sneak into every food related photo session. This is simple, but it works so very well. If you use real Parmesan cheese, like Parmigiano-Reggiano, save those rock-hard rinds. They are magic flavor bombs. All you do is add them to soup or bean dishes. Add them at the start of cooking, because they need a good long while to soften up and release their flavor goodness. They don’t make the dish taste cheesy, but rather add tha...

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