Our favorite way to cook zucchini

...ransforms the zukes into a savory, glossy, succulent mush. Maybe that’s not the most elegant way to phrase it, but it’s the best I can do. Yes, it does have a baby food texture, but it’s really, really good, so you don’t care. I can’t begin to tell you quantities–we’ve never measured. Just guesstimate. It will work. The one rule of thumb I can offer you is that you will lose about half the volume of the z...

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Free Postmortem Exams for Backyard Flocks in California

It’s too late for us now, but if I had another two chickens die in close succession, I’d consider rushing the bodies off to one of the California Animal Health and Food Safety’s labs run by the University of California Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine. A Root Simple reader who is a veterinarian tipped us off to this service. You don’t need a veterinarian (though you might need one to help interpret the results...

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Loofah Sponges

...#8211;or luffa– (Luffa aegyptiaca) all the time, but I don’t believe we’ve every blogged about it here. I was reminded of it when we received a letter from Candace, who heard us on a podcast talking about how much fun it was to grow loofah sponges. She said: I wanted to thank you for that part of the interview in particular.  I decided to grow some this summer and it has been a great joy.  It is a beautiful vine, and the flowe...

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Cat Litter Composting

...that link for more info on Jenkins’ good work in that area–research, technique, message boards, etc. It’s all there. Human, cat and dog waste are all more tricky to work with than your more benign chicken and bunny waste. This isn’t something one should do in a half-assed way, but it is possible. The plan I’m going to follow is the basic humanure model, which is classic composting, but with lots of attention and care...

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Growing Artichokes on the Sly

...a wall, between some permanent shrubs. It flourished through our wet winter–she says she didn’t give it any care at all. Now it’s way too big to weedwack, and covered with fat artichokes. It’s also such a magnificent plant that it looks like it belongs there. She’s harvested over forty chokes so far–that’s a lot of good eating! We realize artichokes don’t grow everywhere, but investigate perennial f...

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Come see us in Portland!

Tuesday May 3rd: Feel like going out for a drink? We’ll be hanging out at The Tugboat Brewery, 711 Southwest Ankeny Street, Portland. We’ll arrive around 7:30, and will stay as long as anyone is willing to hang with us. Stop by for a brew and a chat! Wednesday, May 4th: We’ll be speaking and signing in the community room at People’s Food Co-op, 3029 Southeast 21st Avenue. 7PM 6PM....

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How Not To Bake Bread

...cookies and other things leavened with baking powder or soda. But with yeast, well, I just haven’t figured it out. I’m trying to follow the Mother Earth News ‘no knead’ bread recipe that you bake in a dutch oven. I’ve tried other yeasted bread recipes before with little success. Since this one is supposed to be easier, I thought this is the perfect bread for me! Apparently some folks gets greatresults with it. Grumb...

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Gift Suggestions, from the Other Half

...inated with this book’s thesis: that California Indians actively managed the California landscape, shaping it into the verdant paradise that awed the first European settlers to arrive here. They were practicing food forestry in it’s most advanced form, as well as wild life management. This book also introduced me to a concept I’m also still trying to wrap my head around: the idea that plants need us as much as we need them. Our...

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Advances in Gardening: The Screens of Discretion

When our friend Tara helped us reconceptualize our back yard, one of the first things she did was wave toward our compost pile and chicken supply zone, and say, “You’ve got to screen off all that crap.” Of course! We had to take control of the view. Ahhhhh….. So Erik built this screen. He started using a pre-made trellis material, but tricked it up.  Behind it you can see the massive compost pile. The structure on the le...

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