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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Straw Bale Gardens

Tasha Via’s straw bale garden. Michael Tortorello (who profiled us when Making It came out) is one of my favorite writers covering the home ec/gardening subjects we discuss on this blog. He had an article last week in the New York Times, “Grasping at Straw” on straw bale gardening. We’ve very tempted to give the practice a try in our backyard. Why? We have lead and zinc contaminated soil so growing veggies in the ground...

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On the Difficulty of Finding Pastured Animal Products

Chickens on pasture. Image by MentalMasala. I was hoping to bring some good news this morning, specifically about a non-profit animal welfare rating service that I found out about at the National Products Expo. There were two animal welfare rating organizations at the Expo, one I decided not to write about because I considered their standards too loose–specifically they do not mandate pasture. The other requires pasture and I was looking f...

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Saturday Linkages: Beer Caps n’ Plants

light photos of houseplants: http://plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/2013/04/exceptionally-pretty-pictures.htmlntsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/2013/04/except… … grounded design by Thomas Rainer: Noel Kingsbury: The Ghost in the Machine http://landscapeofmeaning.blogspot.com/2013/04/noel-kingsbury-ghost-in-machine.html?spref=tw … For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter: Follow @rootsimple...

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Straw Bale Garden Part III: Adding Fertilizer

After watering our straw bales for three days our next step is to apply a high nitrogen fertilizer. We’re following West Virginia University Extension Service’s Straw Bale Gardening advice. They suggest a 1/2 cup of urea per bale or “bone meal, fish meal, or compost for a more organic approach.” (I think they mean blood meal as bone meal does not have much nitrogen in it.) Choosing the organic approach, we’re water...

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Saturday Linkages: I’m tired of doom, let’s garden and make things . . .

Onesmus Mwangi’s homemade helicopter. Gardens Thomas Rainer’s amazing garden http://landscapeofmeaning.blogspot.com/2013/05/pleasure-garden.html?spref=tw … Container planting: intuition vs. reality: http://ow.ly/1WWQXg Praise for Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land http://j.mp/ZekBDm DIY Small Batch Strawberry Rhubarb Jam + Rhubarb Recipes from the Archives http://www.foodinjars.com/2013/05/small-batch-strawberry-rhubarb-jam-rhuba...

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Initial Thoughts on the Age of Limits 2013 Conference

This is actually free desktop wallpaper. Who says we’re not looking forward to the apocalypse? Over Memorial Day weekend, Erik and I and our buddy John Zapf, attended a conference called The Age of Limits: Conversations on the Collapse of the Global Industrial Model. This conference brings together different luminaries from the “doomosphere” to discuss the impact and implications of the three-headed hydra of peak oil, climate c...

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Zombie Apocalypse Poll Results

2012—year of the goat? The poll results are in and a solid majority thinks that things will get worse in 2012. The results, with 617 votes: 187 30% things will get better 309 50% things will get worse 121 19% things will stay the same I had intended to editorialize about how I see 2012 going. But I can’t say it better than this anonymous comment: I could not answer the poll. My first thought was that things will get worse...

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Eco Blogging, Tin Foil Hats and Convention Mania

Yesterday’s post on the Natural Products Expo West reminded me that I never published a post I did on a large “Eco” convention I attended last year. I have a secret and embarrassing fondness for conventions of any kind. So, at the risk of never being invited to a convention again, here’s that old post I failed to publish until now: Most of the “eco” conventions I’ve attended in the past, to be honest, b...

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