Stoicism as a Toolkit for Modern Life

Lucius Annaeus Seneca ca. 4 BC – AD 65. This is the first in a series of posts focusing on positive techniques for keeping our heads screwed on straight in troubled times. Growing food, doing stuff with your hands, drinking homebrew with friends–all these kinds of things help keep us grounded and hopeful. But sometimes you need a little more help. Maybe we’ll call these posts “When chickens aren’t enough.” Whether t...

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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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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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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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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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To each hen her own egg

As of June we’ll have had our new hens for a year, and we’re very pleased with them. They’re unusual hybrids. They’re a cross between a Barnevelder, a pretty utility/show breed named after the Dutch town where it was developed, and the more popular Ameraucana.  We got them from our friends at Winnetka Farms, who raise Barnevelders and tried this cross as an experiment. They’re very nice hens. Pretty. Mild-mannered....

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Fabulous Postcards from HenCam

From Vintage Chicken Photographs. Terry says this picture reminds her of Erik. It reminds me of our friend Craig at Winnetka Farms. Whichever! Let’s hear it for tall handsome gentlemen holding poultry! Our friend Terry over at the great chicken site HenCam has produced three lovely sets of postcard books based on antique photos of people with animals. One set is people and chickens, the second is people with other livestock, and the third...

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Saturday Linkages: Speedos, Blue Eggs and the Rise of Rye

A rancher of the future according to the 1981 children’s book Tomorrow’s Home. Trojan Horses, Recipes, and Permaculture http://www.patternliteracy.com/770-trojan-horses-recipes-and-permaculture … How bad for the environment are gas-powered leaf blowers? http://wapo.st/14bgqIQ  In Pursuit of Tastier Chickens, a Strict Diet of Four-Star Scraps http://nyti.ms/15yN8EY  Rye’s Rise: New Loaves That Are More Than a Vehicle for Pastrami http...

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What Are Your Favorite Compost Materials?

Root Simple’s new composting game for your Xbox! I wish I could source compost pile materials from our yard. But lead and zinc contamination in our soil make that a dodgy proposition without doing a lot of expensive lab tests. And I never seem to have enough materials even for our modest vegetable garden. So in the past I’ve used: horse bedding chicken manure from our own chickens alfalfa hay (kinda spendy these days) str...

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003-Cooking From Scratch, Tortillas, Fencing and Listenter Questions

This week on the Root Simple Podcast Kelly and Erik discuss cooking from scratch, making tortillas, bathroom cats, fencing and answer a reader question about chickens in small spaces. If you want to leave a question you can call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected] The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes s...

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