Eating In: The Biosphere Cookbook

...d Doughnuts” (made with potatoes) and “Banana Wine.” Like Archdruid John Michael Greer, I find it hard to believe that the fantasy of orbiting space colonies that inspired the Biosphere seemed doable when I was a kid. It’s obviously time to revise those plans. I have a strong suspicion that in the future we’ll be “eating in” just like the Biospherians, except that our “in” will be good old ter...

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The Ecology Center of San Juan Capistrano

Kelly and I had the privilege of doing a short talk this weekend at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. If you’re interested in Southern California food forestry, greywater, chickens, you name it, this is the place to visit. They have an amazing garden, classes and a well curated gift store. When people ask us how to design garden and house systems in SoCal, we’re going to send them to the Ecology Center....

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Tree Tobacco as a Stinging Nettle Cure

...before it went up:  As Erik says here, Nicotiana glauca totally works for nettle stings–I highly recommend it– but I have some contradicting information regarding Native American usage. I took a herbology class with the late Cecilia Garcia, who was a Chumash medicine woman, and she told us that Indians used this plant as an appetite suppressant during hard times. The adults would drink tea made of its leaves so they could give what fo...

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Secrets In Your Pantry?

Craig Ruggless of Winnetka Farms asked me a great question this past weekend, “If people could see your kitchen pantry what would you be most embarrassed about?” The first thing that came to mind is the occasional package of scary, deep fried, orange dusted cornmeal snacks. The truth is that we don’t often have them on hand more than a couple times a year (largely because I would go through them like a crack addict). But we do...

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Homemade Cat Toys

...they love to tackle this ball. My yoga mat, unfortunately, is another big favorite in the unauthorized category. It looks like it’s gone through a cheese grater. Trout will also gleefully shred anything wrapped in plastic. He’s destroyed packs of toilet paper, opened bags of people food and most recently shredded a mailer holding a book. Sweaty bacbpacks and messenger bags, especially those of visitors, provide hours of fascination an...

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Saturday Linkages: Mules, Turfgrass, Foraging and the End of Backyard Citrus

Emily Ho, a fellow Master Food Preserver trainee, foraged a Silver Lake salad. (Photo by Emily Ho) A Silver Lake Salad http://sustainablefoodworks.com/2012/04/09/a-silver-lake-salad/ via @ misschiffonade   Mule-based bookmobiles for remote Venezuelan communities: http://boingboing.net/2012/04/20/mule-based-bookmobiles-for-rem.html   Dismiss Cyclists At Your Own Peril: The Jackson Huang Lesson – Eagle Rock, CA Patch http://eagleroc...

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Disconnect to Reconnect: Ditching the “Flushie” for a Composting Toilet

...t use a flushie often, I made the decision to ‘go dry’ years ago, adopting the bucket toilet + sawdust system as it pairs nicely with my composting obsession and food growing habit. I stayed at Erik and Kelly’s back in February. Their low flush toilet and antique piping can’t seem to handle even the most modest bodily donation. Once a flushing attempt proves unsuccessful, and immediately following the ‘oh no…’ guilty grimace, a light-hearted blam...

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Reseeding Vegetables for the Warm Season

...ouse in Southern California? After dumping a load of compost along our side yard, mother nature is doing her own food forestry experiment. This month the following things popped up out of that load of compost: stinging nettle cardoon tomatoes nasturtium fennel sunflowers Elsewhere in the yard, New Zealand spinach has popped up on its own. I doubt the stinging nettle or nasturtium will hang on for long (it’s out of season for those plants...

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Front Yard Vegetable Garden Update

One advantage of living in a slightly rough-around-the-edges Los Angeles neighborhood is that nobody gets bent out of shape about front yard vegetable gardens. Indeed, they are  a tradition in immigrant neighborhoods. The picture above is an update of one of the front yard gardens Kelly blogged about back in May. It looked like this when she first blogged about it. Not sure exactly what’s growing here. It looks like beans from a distanc...

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Why You Should Have a Thermometer in Your Refrigerator/Freezer

...ful: a refrigerator/freezer thermometer. Freezers should be kept at 0ºF (-18ºC). At that temperature most frozen foods will keep for a year. The refrigerator should be below 40ºF (4.5ºC). (Source: Food Safety Advisor) After picking up an inexpensive thermometer, I discovered that our old fridge/freezer was simply not keeping low enough temperatures. I made the mistake of replacing it with a used fridge, which also did not maintain low enough temp...

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