Making Salves, Lip Balms & etc.: Close of the Calendula Series

...e mix starts to cool. I find that the lip of a liquid measuring cup gives enough control to fill even those fiddly little plastic lip balm tubes. Let the containers sit, open, until they are completely cool. Then lid them and label them. Clean up: The best way I’ve found to deal with the waxy grease residue (since I stopped using paper towels) is to shake a generous amount of baking soda into the dish and then rub it around. The soda lifts...

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Harvesting and Drying Calendula

...rd are older than that. I think some herbs keep their properties longer than others, but in general you should try to use them in a year or so. Like spices, the are best fresh, but usable, if not as potent, as they age.  Label and date all your herbs. Even if you think you’ll never forget, somehow or another you will, and at some future find yourself standing at your cupboard, holding a jar full of strange plant matter and saying to yo...

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Stickers for the Organic Gardener

Via BoingBoing a clever re-purposing: “Evil Mad Scientist Labs wants you to proudly label your organic garden with these handsome “Now Slower and with More Bugs!” stickers, originally produced to adorn software products. The influence of the Slow Food movement is increasing, and gardening is getting ever more popular. Even the tech bloggers are posting about local pollinators and getting beehives. In this environment, it is fi...

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Advances in Gardening Series: A Progress Report

...In the dead center is what I call The Hippie Heart (and yes, that’s tm’d too.). I’ll come back to the heart: I like the view better from the other direction. In the center foreground you can see twig with a label tied to it. That’s one of our brand new fruit trees.: This below is a pretty uninspired picture of The Hippie Heart, a raised bed which is about 5 feet across, made by simply digging up and mounding earth–...

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Plum Lemon Tomato Power’s Heirloom Tomato

...d those loads of melamine laced pet food from China, they did somehow manage to track 1,840 confirmed cases of food-borne illnesses in domestic tomatoes. Again, urban homesteading revolutionaries, GROW YOUR OWN! We found that label and it’s a tomato called “Power’s Heirloom”. Here’s how the Seed Saver’s exchange catalog copy describes it, “First offered in the 1990 SSE Yearbook by Bruce McAllister from Fr...

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Noodler’s Ink Reusable Fountain Pen

Julia just wrote a post on Ramshackle Solid about our newest solution to the frustration of disposable pens: Noodler’s Ink and fountain pens. From the Noodler’s website: Why Noodler’s? “Noodler’s Ink” has the lowest cost per volume in stores that carry it and it’s 100% made in the USA from cap to glass to ink. The ink with the catfish on the label symbolizes a southern sport that attempts to equalize the struggle between man a...

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Homegrown Evolution in Chicago

...ChicagoRegister with: [email protected] Erik will lead an informal presentation on Urban Homesteading in Los Angeles – focusing on his and his wife’s homegrown systems of adventurous experimentation of chickens, growing, greywater, brewing and more – some successful, some not so much! Copies of The Urban Homestead will be for sale. Many thanks to Nancy Klehm for arranging these events! See her website Spontaneous Vegetation for more in...

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In Praise of Disorder

Loose chickens in Houston A neighborhood whose demographics fall somewhere between the extremes of the crack den and the country club presents just the right level of civic inattention to allow the urban homesteader to get away with many of the illegal projects profiled in this blog: greywater, backyard poultry, and front yard vegetable gardening, to mention just a few. Ideally you have a balance between order and disorder–neither gunfir...

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Our Footprint

...y we won the Low Impact contest is simple. We live in a small house and don’t drive much. That’s just about it. We can’t afford solar panels, and everything else we’ve done, such as the washing machine greywater system, is DIY and un-permitted. We’re sure that many people in our 1920s era neighborhood would have also won this contest. Folks in apartments would have done even better. The average African would do a tho...

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Real Estate Bubble Bananas

...ilo for creating a literal banana republic! Bananas are not my favorite plant for Southern California as they take a lot of water and get somewhat rangy looking when the wind rips up their leaves. But they are one of the most greywater tolerant plants and a good choice for paring with the outflow of a shower or laundry machine. Fruit score: 10 to the squirrels 2 to the people I’m sorry to say that I don’t know what variety this banan...

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