How to Get Skunks Out of Your Basement and Yard

Basements and crawl spaces under houses make idea dens for urban critters. If we could charge rent for all the skunks, raccoons and feral cats that have taken up residence under the house we’d have paid off the mortgage by now. Our particular crawl space critter B&B was opened by virtue of a flimsy access door. Some animal, most likely a raccoon, pried it open. The problem with this situation is that you can’t just close up the...

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Gourmet Foraging and Advanced Acorn Processing

...ts and furniture. They are edible, even tasty, I hear. If they end up in your house they’ll probably dehydrating to death quietly under your couch or behind a bookshelf, or perhaps will be batted to death by inquisitive cats. At any rate, if you don’t want larvae in your house, you’ll want to keep the acorns somewhere else. Acorn Processing No matter what type of acorn you’ve harvested, you’ll need to leach the tanni...

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Tips on growing great garlic

This week I’m at the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California. Kelly is at home, tending to our herd of milk cats. Yesterday I learned a lot about garlic. Garlic is one of those crops well worth growing if you’ve got the space. Why? unless you know an heirloom garlic farmer, the stuff you buy at the supermarket is one of just three bland varieties. According to garlic expert Jeffrey Nekola, who spoke yesterday, garlic has twelve t...

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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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My Big Fat Worm Bin

...worlds. Regarding the cat poop compost: This should probably be a whole other post. But the short version is that I’ve been composting our cat litter in its own separate pile. This works pretty well, but with two indoor cats (aka pooping machines) the bin fills up fast. When we built the worm bin, Nancy had us harvest some of the older, more finished kitty litter compost from the bottom of the cat pile to mix into the worm pile as a base ma...

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The Art of Memory

...the other bay (goat milk yogurt), two giant cubes of tofu jumping up and down in the living room, Olive Oyl from Popeye in the kitchen (olive oil), Mrs. Homegrown munching sunflower seeds in the hallway (sunflower seeds) and cats dancing around a fish in the bathroom (cat food). When I used my memory palace at the store I was able to recall all but one (olive oil). Later I realized why. I was never really into Popeye and, as a result, using Oliv...

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Meet the Gophinator

The Gophinator Thankfully, we don’t have gophers, but dealing with them is one of the first questions we get when teaching vegetable gardening classes.  You can use raised beds lined with hardware cloth. But, other than target practice (a no-no in urban areas), most people I know with gopher problems end up using traps or zealous cats. Several sources have told me about the Cadillac of gopher traps, the aptly named “Gophina...

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Finding an Urban Homestead on Craigslist

...April 1st. So if you’re looking to live in Santa Cruz, CA it looks like you’ll have the three “Bs” taken care of: bikes, bird watching and beer. And kudos for the imaginative ad copy, not to mention of cats and organic undies. I suspect we’ll be seeing more of this kind of informal but intentional housing as the great recession winds on. Not a bad idea to have roommates with skills!...

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Avoiding Hyperthermia

When spending a day baking pizzas at a public event in front of a 1000º F oven in the full Southern California sun remember to drink water and take breaks. Otherwise you will spend the next day in bed with a splitting headache, unable to eat, barely able to drink anything and at the mercy of two young cats. The first time I pulled off a case of hyperthermia was after a long bike ride. I would not call it fun, nor would I like this to happen whe...

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Saturday Linkages: From The Woodsman Workout to Crafting With Your Cat

...rds, 1 seat: http:// dornob.com/2-boards-1-sea t-simple-diy-two-plank-chair-construction/  … Food Preservation FreshTech Jam and Jelly Maker Review http://www. foodinjars.com/2012/09/fresht ech-jam-and-jelly-maker-review/  … Cats ‘n Crafts Catification: Creative Table Leg Cat Scratcher http:// jacksongalaxy.com/2012/09/08/cat ification-creative-table-leg-cat-scratcher/  … Book on Crafting With Your Cat: Kitty Jones Kitty Crafts link Fitne...

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