SIPS and Kraut at Project Butterfly

..., ferment beer, keep chickens, bake bread and turn your waste products into valuable resources. By stepping into the DIY movement, we’ll create a paradigm shift that will improve our lives, our community and our planet. Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne, authors of The Urban Homestead, have become increasingly interested in the concept of urban sustainability since moving to Los Angeles in 1998. In that time, they’ve slowly converted their...

Continue reading…

Tuesday Morning Fruit Linkages

We’ve been reading Adam Leith Gollner’s entertaining book The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce, and Obsession and Gollner mentions a number of intreguing internet resources, perfect for a little post holiday weekend surfing: More than you ever wanted to know about the world’s smelliest fruit: Durian (Durian Palace) The California Rare Fruit Growers, “Pushing the Limits of Fruit Growing, Worldwide...

Continue reading…

How To Make Hoshigaki (Dried Persimmons)

...ersimmon season right now, so if you want to try this at home you better jump on it. While a lot can go wrong in the month it takes to make Hoschigaki, the process is not complicated. What kind of persimmons to use The persimmons used to make Hoshigaki are astringent varieties such as Hachiya. Ideally, choose fruit that still has part of the stem. There is a workaround later in these instructions if you can’t find persimmons with stems. Us...

Continue reading…

We Grow Houses

...r apartment of Gianni Versace assassin and spree killer Andrew Cunanan. So when we spotted a NBC news truck near the Homegrown Revolution compound we assumed our Los Angeles neighborhood had produced a new celebrity killer. It turned out instead to be a photo op for the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures who had deployed the truck pictured above to spray pesticide due to an invasion of the oriental Fruit Fly Bact...

Continue reading…

Medlar: The Best Fruit You’ve Never Heard Of

This week we were luck enough to tag along with Tara Kolla of Silver Lake Farms on a jaunt to the hills near Tehachapi to help harvest an allusive fruit called the medlar.  Erik and I were just extra hands–the plan was hatched between Tara and Craig Ruggless of Winnetka Farms. See, Craig has a place up in those hills, and just happened to know his neighbors had a little grove of medlars, and these neighbors agreed to sell them to Craig an...

Continue reading…

Book Review: The Urban Bestiary

...ry to remember that I am a creature of nature, living in a vast human habitat which exists as part of a web with the entire ecosystem. Remembering that I am not apart from nature sometimes requires a little mental judo–and some well chosen bedside reading. Thus my recent reading has included books like Being Animal and What the Robin Knows (reviewed here) and most recently The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild by Lyanda Lynn Ha...

Continue reading…

Quince: the “Poster Child of Slowness”

Oops–I think they mean “quince“ A year ago I planted a “Karp’s Sweet Quince” tree from Raintree Nursery and blogged about it, saying that I’d like to hear from fruit expert David Karp for whom the tree is named. Karp called me a few weeks ago to say that he was working on a quince article for the LA Times, “There’s a new taste for quince“. In the article Karp discusses varieties that...

Continue reading…

It Quacks Like a Duck

The Happy Ducks of the Petaluma Urban Homestead It seems a new lifestyle is taking shape, in part born of the ashes of the World Trade Center, the aftermath of Katrina, and the endless resource wars our country feels the need to fight. There’s a great desire out there to “do something” and a refreshing DIY spirit of self-sufficiency is beginning to emerge. Two of the indicators of this new lifestyle seem to be the mixture o...

Continue reading…

Countdown

...rmal introduction yet, so here goes.  Making It: Radical Home-Ec for a Post Consumer World is our follow up to The Urban Homestead . The way we see it, The Urban Homestead was less a how-to book and more a “why should I?” Its purpose was to get people excited about this homesteadish stuff, and see that they could work toward self-reliance, no matter where they lived. Making It is a pure how-to book: Project #1 – #70.  There&...

Continue reading…

Fruit Tree Maintenance Calendars

Where we live, it’s the time of year to prune and deal with pest issues on fruit trees. The University of California has a very helpful page of fruit tree maintenance calendars for us backyard orchard enthusiasts.  The calendars cover everything from when to water, fertilize, paint the trunks and many other tasks. You can also find them in one big handy set of charts in UC’s book The Home Orchard. The permacultura...

Continue reading…