June: National Bathroom Reading Month

...g. We get a lot of these catalogs since every few months we break a bike tail light and have to order a new one. They just don’t build bicycle accessories to last! These bike catalogs, aimed at recreational cyclists who drive somewhere to ride their bikes (note the cover) feature lots of god-awful candy-colored spandex outfits, $5,000 mountain bikes and nutritional supplements. Precisely the items you don’t want for getting around urb...

Continue reading…

Mistakes we have made . . .

...my own advice–plant in season and in respect of place. Hops belong in the Pacific Northwest. In contrast, the heat loving prickly pear cactus in our front yard provides both tasty nopales and fruit reliably every year while growing in terrible alkaline soil with no added water or fertilizer. The problem with the prickly pear is that it is too prodigious, and that’s the kind of problem you can hope for as an urban homesteader. 3. News...

Continue reading…

Mulberries

..., claiming that doing so produces an unpleasant, mildly psychedelic experience. Apparently you throw up, fall on the ground and become convinced you’re going to croak. We wonder if this is a myth, like the story about boy scouts roasting hot dogs on Oleander sticks (yes, Oleander is very poisonous, but apparently the boy scout story is an urban legend). We found the Mulberries sweet and delicious. It’s a fruit that doesn’t ship...

Continue reading…

A Bicyclist’s Bill of Rights Part II

...ificant road space. 3) Cyclists have the right to the full support of educated law enforcement. 4) Cyclists have the right to the full support of our judicial system and the right to expect that those who endanger, injure or kill cyclists be dealt with to the full extent of the law. 5) Cyclists have the right to routine accommodations in all roadway projects and improvements. 6) Cyclists have the right to urban and roadway planning, development a...

Continue reading…

The Horror

...waster. Fellow LA Bloggist and committed bike commuter Will Campbell (his mileage indicates that he’s got the Kool-aid in those bottle cages), has smacked down Cato institute stormtrooper Randall O’Toole in an ongoing debate on cycling in the pages of the L.A. Times. Urban Velo #5 is available for download and it’s free. Lastly, Commute by Bike has some tips on how to ride in cold weather without opening the wallet for expensiv...

Continue reading…

In Praise of Disorder

Loose chickens in Houston A neighborhood whose demographics fall somewhere between the extremes of the crack den and the country club presents just the right level of civic inattention to allow the urban homesteader to get away with many of the illegal projects profiled in this blog: greywater, backyard poultry, and front yard vegetable gardening, to mention just a few. Ideally you have a balance between order and disorder–neither gunfir...

Continue reading…

Something for Nothing – Wild Mustard Greens

...s the ‘white mustard’ of commerce . . . The pungency of mustard develops when cold water is added to the ground-up seed – an enzyme (myrosin) acts on a glycoside (sinigrin) to produce a sulphur compound. The reaction takes 10 – 15 minutes. Mixing with hot water or vinegar, or adding salt, inhibits the enzyme and produces a mild bitter mustard.” And speaking of urban foraging, we’ve been inspired by our visitor...

Continue reading…

An Echo Park Weed Salad

There’s nothing like a little urban blight to produce an excellent salad. While not impoverished (not unless you consider dilapidated $600,000 bungalows a sign of destitution), our neighborhood ain’t exactly Beverly Hills, meaning that in terms of landscaping it’s a little rough around the edges. And the edges–parkways, cracks in the asphalt, neglected plantings were, on this warm February day, overflowing with weeds. Edi...

Continue reading…

Bike to Work Week

...work propaganda is aimed at took to the streets in great numbers LADOT would have a problem on their hands given their fondness for building pedestrian and cycling unfriendly high-speed blighted freeways through our neighborhoods. A tip to the powers that be–first spend your money on making LA more walkable/bikeable and if there are any dead presidents left over for advertising at least try for some sexier imagery. Start with a look at Urb...

Continue reading…

Nominate Your Favorite Complainer

...at most complainers are lonely, clinically depressed people seeking attention. Or perhaps bureaucrats justifying their jobs in a recession. So the competition might give our complaint athletes just what they want: to be noticed. But on this blog, a yearly complaint competition would give us a way to organize and round up the most outrageous complaints. With urban homesteading activities on the rise there will certainly be more of these unfortunat...

Continue reading…