A Year after The Age of Limits: 5 Responses to the End Times

...life. What does “get busy” mean? Regular Root Simple readers know this, and are doing it. Still: • Disconnect from materialist culture. Get out of debt. Downsize. Simplify. Insulate and weatherstrip. Install that greywater system. Prepare for storms. Be ready for the worst, but don’t fear it. • If you want to engage with politics, do so on a local level. Fight for walkable, bikeable cities and locally grown food via farmers mar...

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California’s Drought and What To Do About It

...drought tolerant plantings over the past few years. These plants use less water and encourage beneficial wildlife. I consider them part of the vegetable garden, in a way. I just made a major change to our laundry to landscape greywater system–more on this in another post. I’ve consulted historical irrigation data to more intelligently program our drip irrigation system. Keep in mind that 77% of California’s water use goes to ag...

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Hops in Containers

...st in late July I don’t know how my hops will do in SIPs the second year, and I’m considering planting them in the ground if I can find a suitable place. I suspect that hops are a good candidate for pairing with a greywater source and I’m thinking about ways to do this. Now that I’ve grown hops, I’m tempted to go to the next level. The local Rite Aid? How about we replace it with a field of barley? I’m anxious...

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Book Review: More Other Homes and Garbage Designs for Self-Sufficient Living

...pply, small scale agriculture and aquaculture. All topics are covered in great detail with, as is expected for a group of engineer/authors, lots of formulas and tables. While some material is out of date (Art Ludwig has taken greywater well beyond what’s in this book), most of the 374 pages of More Other Homes and Garbage are still very useful. I especially like the can-do DIY tone of the introduction which describes a middle ground between...

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How to Prep Fabric for Dyeing: Scouring

...fteners or brighteners (in laundry detergent) or moisturizers (in liquid soap) which might leave residues on the fabric. Remember, you’re trying to strip the fabric clean. Use the simplest stuff you can find. I used our greywater-friendly Oasis detergent. It’s very basic. If I didn’t have that, I’d have turned to Bronner’s Sal Suds or dish soap. How to: How much water should you use? The fabric has to have lots of ro...

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My Trip to Maker Faire

...ve a great demo on all the ways you can roast your own coffee. Expensive AK-47 toting garden gnomes. And solar powered bikes. Not sure how this would work out on an LA street. Someone in the Homegrown area was processing greywater in bulk containers planted with bamboo. Overall I had a great time. It was a wee bit heavy on the robots and 3d printer gadgets but that’s to be expected. At least there were a few chickens present to balanc...

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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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Erik Speaking at Maker Faire

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at the Bay Area Maker Faire on Saturday May 19 at 6:30 pm on the Maker Square Stage (located in the Homegrown Village). The talk I’m giving will be about the appropriate tech projects we’ve been up to around the Root Simple compound–our new chicken run, greywater, solar cooking and Mediterranean edible gardening. I’d love to hang out, after the talk, with any...

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