Chicken Goes to Hollywood

Homegrown Neighbor here. On Thursday Mr. Homegrown and I escorted my chicken, Peckerella, to her first public appearance. Peckerella was there to assist author Terry Golson, who has written a wonderful children’s book called Tillie Lays An Egg. The book has adorable pictures of her flock and features the adventurous Tillie, who likes to lay her eggs everywhere except her nesting box. Ms. Golson is currently in Los Angeles to share Tillie&#...

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Defining a Garden’s Purpose

Organic Mechanic’s Garden in San Francisco I’m an idiot when it comes to garden design. To up my skills in this department I attended the annual Garden Blogger’s Fling last week, which took place this year in San Francisco. Thankfully the Fling did not involve sitting in a sterile hotel conference room. Instead, we boarded two buses and took a look at fifteen spectacular gardens in the bay area over three days. I’ll share...

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Pierce Disease Resistant Grape Vines for Southern California

Pearl River Grape–slightly critter chewed, but still tasty. At the risk of counting our chickens before they’ve hatched, I think we finally have grape vines that are immune to Pierce’s disease. Pierce’s disease is a fatal condition spread by sucking (and sucky) insects known as sharpshooters. Once a vine get it there is no cure. Pierce’s is why your glass of California wine may one day be genetically modified. Over...

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Alektyomancy: Divination by Rooster

We’ve blogged before about the Roman practice of using chickens to tell fortunes. It turns out the Greeks had their own chicken oracle method: The Pythagoreans inquired about the posthumous fate of their recently dead by using an uncommon method of divination called alektyomancy. On a table were traced squares containing the letters of the alphabet, and in each square seeds were placed. After proper incantations, a white rooster was relea...

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We heal together

The bees in our back yard, glorying in poppy pollen Thank you everyone who shared their feelings and ideas with us all yesterday. Thank you, too, to those of you who read and considered those words. Thank you to those of you who are silent, but with us. I should be clear before I go on that this is a Kelly post. Erik is out tonight. I don’t know if he’ll disagree with anything I’m going to say–but we don’t agree on...

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Altadena Heritage of Abundance

Our backyard last week (some ugly stuff framed out of the picture!) We’ll be doing a talk tomorrow morning as part of a sustainability series in Altadena, CA. We’re going to talk about self irrigating planters, chickens, bees and vegetable gardening. Here’s the 411: Saturday, May 30 from 9 to 11 a.m at the Altadena Community Center First in a series of events, workshops, and home tours on sustainable living. Reserve your plac...

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A Transportation Cocktail: Bikes, Trains and Buses

It’s the best kept secret in mobility. Bicycles, buses and trains go together like gin, vermouth and olives. Ride to the station, chug along to your destination and then ride off. You’ve got your wheels on both ends of the trip. We’re especially fond of the trip between Los Angeles and San Francisco on Amtrak’s lumbering San Joaquin train. Sure it takes ten hours, but it’s a small price to pay for having a bike in San Francisc...

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Saturday Linkages: Makers, Haters and Beekeeping Donkeys

m/2012/11/step-by-step-tiny-home-design.html#.UKbP0iPHQeI.twitter … Open Source Ecology’s “Build Yourself”: http://boingboing.net/2012/11/14/open-source-ecologys-build.html … Popular Mechanics Magazines from the 1930s http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2012/11/popular-mechanics-magazines-from-1930s.html#.UKbP-zJtCxE.twitter … People Are Suspicious About This Pee-Powered Generator http://motherboard.vice.com/2012/11/8/people-a...

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Our Keyhole Vegetable Bed: What Worked and What Didn’t Work

This is what our keyhole bed looked like yesterday just before I fed the remaining vegetables to our chickens and the compost pile. Ignore the large pot–that’s a future solar powered fountain that will be incorporated in a new vegetable garden we’re working on. Here’s what the keyhole bed looked like just after I installed it back in October. Note the compost repository in the center of the bed. I used straw wattle (ava...

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Arduino Homesteading Projects

An Arduino-based chicken coop controller on Instructables. At the risk of putting high tech in our low tech, I just took an introductory Arduino class at Crash Space along with the folks at Zapf Architectural Renderings. An Arduino is a simple, low cost microcontroller thingy. It’s got a bunch of digital outputs, analog and digital inputs and a programmable microchip. You download a program onto the chip (either one you’ve written yo...

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