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

...e treatment plants use chemical and loads of energy (gas and electricity). Electricity by the way, depending how it is generated also uses large amounts of fresh water. Greywatering your house is a much more enjoyable way to stretch into your plumbing fantasies than dealing with a clogged flush toilet. Your water bill will plummet. Toilet’s account for 30% of our daily water useage. It’s quiet. No one knows you are ‘using it’ even if you are on t...

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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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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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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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Picture Sundays: Good News and Dog Carts

First off, Governor Brown signed the California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616, into law this past week. So Californians will soon be able to make and sell “non-hazardous” foods in a home kitchen and sell them. But how will those goods get delivered? Above, a bakery in Holland using that long lost mode of transport, the dog cart. Picture via Terrierman’s Daily Dose....

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Radical Beekeeper Michael Thiele Ventures Into New Territory

..., Gaia Bees, Thiele defines bien as an attempt to describe the oneness of the bee colony, [that] also recognizes its individual “personality”. The honey bee colony is one being in countless bodies. The biological term for this is super-organism. The bien is configured through the harmonious and functional relationships of all its parts. Every part depends on the other and all parts provide the necessary environment for their own existence. The co...

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Urban Chickens and Lead

...s ranged from none to over a 100 parts per billion. Since the FDA does not have an acceptable lead level in eggs it’s difficult to interpret the results. And I have to wonder what unknown problems lurk in industrial eggs. It’s a reminder that those of us who live in older cities and grow food need to confront the lead problem. Personally, I’d also like to see the Real Estate industry come clean on this issue beyond boiler plate...

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Toby Hemenway On How Horticulture Can Save Us

...ued some corners of the urban homesteading movement for promoting an egocentric self-sufficiency–”MY food on MY land” as he put it–a kind of industrial farming on a household level. While “self-sufficiency” appears in the subtitle of our first book (our publisher’s idea), it’s not a term we use. Kelly and I always emphasize, like Hemenway, the importance of community. We are much more comfortable wi...

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All Haste Is of the Devil: Carl Jung as Homesteader

Carl Jung pumping water in the Tower at Bollingen. From the Library of Congress. It’s a holiday here in the US, so we’ve turned things over to a special guest blogger, Dr. Carl Jung, who comes to us via the special astral internet plan we get from AT&T. As it turns out, Jung was quite the off-grid homesteader when it came to building and living in his special retreat tower in Bollingen, on the shore of Lake Zürich. I...

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